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Soft Kitty...

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Soft Kitty...

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:40 pm

The children of a New Hampshire teacher are suing the producers and broadcasters of the hit US sitcom The Big Bang Theory for its use of a nursery rhyme their late mother wrote in the 1930s...
The words “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur / Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr” are sung in several episodes by the cast after Sheldon teaches Penny the rhyme. “My mother used to sing it to me when I was sick,” he tells her...
In addition to damages, profits and legal costs, Newlin Chase and Chase Perry are seeking an immediate injunction on the use of Soft Kitty...


http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015 ... kitty-song

It's disappointing that they couldn't come to a sensible deal without going to court: I guess that one party or another is being greedy.
Obviously it is under American law, but it raises a few principles which are generally applicable.
It is clear that the success of the song rides mostly on the show: it is a pleasant little ditty, but until it was featured in the show, it was largely unknown and without the show it would likely have remained so, and while the song certainly hits the right spot, it is quite likely than another song would have done so just as well.
So what sort of scale should the damages be when one party has provided the inspiration and the other all the perspiration?

And if an injunction is granted, would that mean that none of the episodes containing the song can be broadcast?
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Re: Soft Kitty...

Postby atticus » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:47 pm

An injunction prohibits that which it expressly prohibits. In other words, its terms need to be read, to see what it prohibits, and in which jurisdiction and for what period of time.

There is also the question whether this tune is out of copyright.

Damages will be assessed under the principles applicable in the particular State. Americans seem to love having juries make ridiculous damage awards*, which are then reduced on appeal. They also award punitive damages far more liberally than do the Courts of England & Wales.

*gross generalisation
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Re: Soft Kitty...

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:58 pm

atticus wrote:An injunction prohibits that which it expressly prohibits. In other words, its terms need to be read, to see what it prohibits, and in which jurisdiction and for what period of time.

Clearly so, but presumably the law sets out what an injunction can prohibit and under what circumstances: can we discuss what might be likely?
Or what might be likely if it was occurring under UK jurisdiction.

*gross generalisation

You only said "seem": the generalisation is not that gross.
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Re: Soft Kitty...

Postby atticus » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:53 pm

Which state's law do you presume says such stuff?
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