Monday, February 28, 2011

Fleischers Lose Legal Battle over Betty Boop Rights

Who actually owns the Queen of that beloved catch-phrase, “Boop boop be doop?”  Is it heirs of the original Fleischer Studio, Paramount Pictures, or the public at large?

Well, Reuters reported Sunday that the Fleischer estate has lost their court battle for the rights to Betty Boop. Originally created by Grim Natwick at Max Fleischer’s studio in 1930, Miss Boop has been co-licensed by Fleischer Studios for decades.

The Studio recently tried to sue Avela Inc. over its licensing of public domain Betty Boop poster images.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled against the Fleischers.  The judges claimed, “If we ruled that AVELA’s depictions of Betty Boop infringed Fleischer’s trademarks, the Betty Boop character would essentially never enter the public domain."

According to court documents, the Fleischer Studio originally assigned its rights to Betty Boop to Paramount Pictures on July 11, 1941. Paramount assigned those rights to Harvey Films, Inc on June 27th, 1958. Harvey actively licensed the character in the early 1960s. On May 15th 1980, Harvey Cartoons transferred “Betty Boop and her Gang” to Alfred Harvey and his brothers.

Judge Susan Graber said there was no break in the chain of title.

Original article posted by Jerry of Cartoon Brew reported February 27, 2011 5:30PM

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