More Star Trek(ish) News – Won’t Boldly Go

(Reuters) – Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP and the makers of the Dr. Seuss/”Star Trek” mashup book “Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!” have settled Seuss’ copyright infringement claims, according to a Tuesday filing in San Diego federal court.

In an agreement filed with the court, the parties agreed that the book infringes Seuss’ copyrights and permanently bars ComicMix LLC, former “Star Trek” writer David Gerrold, illustrator Ty Templeton and others from selling it, while Seuss agreed to drop any claims for damages or attorneys’ fees.

ComicMix’s publisher Glenn Hauman said in a statement that they settled because of Templeton’s Stage 3 colorectal cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

The Reuters report by Blake Brittain.

From Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Beat:

A short summary: ComicMix ran a Kickstarter in September 2016 for the book, intended as a Star Trek adventure told in rhyme, written by David Gerrold and drawn by Ty Templeton in the style of a Dr. Seuss book. Dr. Seuss Enterprises sued.

In December 2017, trademark infringement claims were dismissed, but copyright claims were allowed to proceed. In March 2019, a judge affirmed that the proposed book was transformative and could be published on fair use grounds.

The Seuss folks appealed. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took their side, ruling that the project was not parody or sufficiently transformative. As Heidi noted in her summary at the end of 2020, “most big companies let this kind of thing go, but the Seuss estate is notoriously litigious.”

The Supreme Court had refused to take the case last June, which didn’t leave a lot of options. The case has now been settled. The ruling sets a precedent that mash-ups may not have legal protection, as the court found that simply putting two properties together wasn’t transformative enough.

comparisons via Owens, Wickersham & Erickson

4 thoughts on “More Star Trek(ish) News – Won’t Boldly Go

  1. …And yet, Dr. Seuss Enterprises (oh the irony!) signed off on the wretched live-action movies, which did more to damage the brand than any loving Trek take-off. Pathetic.

  2. Anybody who’s spent any time in anything vaguely related to publishing quickly learns there are three things you don’t mess with: Seuss, Disney, and the International Olympic Committee. Even if you’re right, they’ll still bury you and then salt the earth covering your grave as an example to others. I’m surprised David Gerrold, who’s been a high-profile writer for more than 50 years, didn’t know that. Like Brett, I’m entirely unsurprised, except to the extent that Seuss Inc. let them keep their houses.

    (I had my own run-in once with the fine folks at Wham-O when in a news article I referred to the sport of “Frisbee golf” because that’s what it was called in the sport’s rulebook and course markers. They’re scrupulous about protecting the trademark Frisbee(TM), and in any future stories I was warned in very grave terms to call the sport “flying disc golf.” It’s been a few decades and I have not yet had occasion to repeat my error.)

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