Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's The Emily the Strange Lawsuit...Strange

So, remember the whole Emily the Strange/Nate the Great identity similarities blog posts from a while back? In case you don't, here are the posts about it at Boing Boing, Bookshelves of Doom, the LA Times Blog, and InkyGirl.

Guess what? Lawsuit time. But instead of Nate the Great (the documented first use of a strange Goth girl) suing Emily, Emily is suing Nate to prevent Nate from saying "FIRST." (Hat tip to Sam Riddleburger).

It actually makes sense, law wise. It's like, if something is hanging over your head? And you're waiting for it to drop? Do something to stop it from dropping. You're going to hit me? Defensively, I hit you first. You're going around saying or doing something that is damaging me? I'll sue you to stop you.

Keep in mind: I'm about to start babysitting in 23 minutes, so this is a quick recap of the Complaint. Apologies if I've misread/mistaken something. Please add your thoughts/knowledge in the comments.

Add I'll stop being cute: the lawsuit itself is between copyright holders of Nate (Marjorie Sharmat and Marc Simon) (Defendants) and Emily (Cosmic Debris) (Plaintiff).

The complaint says that Sharmat and Simon have claimed infringement; I'm guessing this means letters have been going back and forth amongst the parties, nothing was resolved, so Cosmic Debris decided to get something telling Sharmat and Simon to stop with the claim.

Note at this point they are NOT asking for money; they are asking that Sharmat and Simon not claim that their rights are violated, and that Sharmat and Simon don't have a right to any monies made off of Emily. There's the usual wanting to recover costs of suit, etc. but Sharmat/Simon are not being sued for money.

Other points of interest in the complaint: a lot of facts about "goth" girls in literature and film going back to the 70s and earlier is mentioned, but it's silent as to the specifics of Sharmat/Simon's Rosamund (namely, does not mention dates). It also confirms 1991 as the start date for Emily.

Now I'm giggling, as I just found the mention of "various websites" speculating about Emily/Rosamund.

Sharmat/Simon began this past year to make allegations of infringement. I'm assuming the blogosphere brought this to their attention.

Cosmic Debris has two strong arguments: one, that Goth girls are such a part of the culture that Emily is not based on Rosamund. Problem with that, of course, it can backfire in the future if Cosmic Debris over goes against a Goth-type character for being too much like Emily.

The second is more fun, in my humble opinion; arguing that the statute of limitations has expired on Sharmat/Simon's right to do anything. I haven't looked up the law, but I think this gets into known/should have known issues. When should Sharmat/Simon have been aware of the infringement?

If you have any other knowledge/input into what's going on, please leave a comment. This will either settle out of court; or be a lot of fun for us law geeks.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Anonymous said...

Does this put Rob Reger into the league of Warhol, Richard Prince, and Louise Lawlor has as radical re-appropriation artist? We could put a postmodern spin on it and Rob would become as radical as his predecessors.

ScaryMerry said...

I'm giddy with the irony of all of this: Emily, who claims to be oh-so-original (she hates copycats, according to her website), has to prove that she's just like everyone else in order to not get the black tights sued off of her.