A federal appeals board has overturned a lower court ruling that a "mashup" of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek violates copyright law.
Oh, the places you will boldly go by Star Trek author David Gerrold, illustrated by Ty Templeton and edited by "Trekkie" Glenn Hauman, "is a mashup that borrows liberally – graphically and otherwise – from ( The Places You & # 39; re Go! ) and other works by Dr. Seuss, who uses Captain Kirk and his spaceship Enterprise to tell readers that “life is an adventure but it will be tough, ”according to Friday's ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Dr. Seuss Enterprises LLC v. ComicMix LLC, Glenn Human, David Jerrold Friedman, AKA David Gerrold; Ty Templeton. [1
Mr. Gerrold and Mr. Hauman, vice president of publishing house ComicMix, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, agreed to create a "Star Trek Primer" mash-up, which the ruling defined as "something created by combining elements from two or more sources."
After considering other literary sources ", they decided to use Go! and place the Enterprise crew in a colorful Seussian landscape full of crazy vaults, names and creatures – a world known for Dr. Seuss readers but a strange new planet for Captain Kirk & # 39 ;s team, "the decision said.
In August 2016, ComicMix launched a successful Crowdsourcing campaign for production and other costs and eventually raised close to $ 30,000, according to the decision.
The San Diego-based Seuss organization, which owns intellectual property in Dr. Seuss & # 39;'s, sent ComicMix a discontinuation and cancellation letter and two follow-up letters and then filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Diego claiming infringement. in copyright and trademark. The district court granted the defendants a summary judgment dismissing the case.
The Court of Appeal set aside the claim of copyright infringement, but upheld the dismissal of the trade mark decision. use ”doctrine based on the purpose and nature of the use; the nature of the copyrighted work; the quantity and significance of the part used; and the effect of the use on the potential market or value of the copyrighted material.
"The most telling story is ComicMix's repackaging of Go! illustrations", the decision states. " Star Trek characters step into the shoes of Seussian characters in a Seussian world that is otherwise unchanged," it said.
"Although ComicMix's work does not have to go boldly where no one has gone before, it is the packaging, copying and lack of criticism of Seuss, along with its commercial use of Go! "19459006] does not result in a transformative use," it said.
The panel upheld the dismissal of the trademark claim. " Boldly is not explicitly misleading as to the source, although it uses the Seussian font in the cover, the Seussian illustration and even a title that only adds one word – Boldly – to the famous title – Oh, the places to go! " it said.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement that "it is enthusiastic about the decision of the Ninth Circuit that the defendants' unauthorized use of Dr. Seuss Oh, the places you should go! was not a fair use."
It said the company "recognizes the wide significance of this appeal decision."
The respondents' lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.