Miffy representative Mercis lost an old-fashioned game of bully-the-penniless-blogger yesterday when a web hosting provider who refused to lie down won most points of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
The hoster, Punt.nl of Gouda, argued that cartoons some of its users hosted in which Miffy is depicted doing cocaine or DJing at a party are parodies, and therefore protected by an exemption to copyright law. The court went along with that argument, and felt that since Miffy was depicted in the cartoons as engaging in activities Dick Bruna would never put her through, it should be abundantly clear to the reader that these are parodies. Using the same shaky logic, the court banned two cartoons that were too close to the original.
As Punt.nl’s Henri de Jong pointed out to De Volkskrant, “What the judge is really saying is the harder the better, because that way you put distance between the parody and the original.” Cory Doctorow argued something similar in his column for the Guardian earlier this year.
The text of the illustration goes:
Matt is at the party.
Dan is there too.
Matt is playing trance.
“What noise,” Dan yells,
And pushes Matt.
Dan throws a fat hardcore
Tune on the SL-1200.
Everybody is happy.
Matt is a dirty trance fag.
Several more Miffy parodies can be found in the verdict. According to De Volkskrant, Marja Kerkhof of Mercis denies the company is bullying bloggers.
(Source illustration: Iusmentis.com, artist unknown)