Kickstarter, a very popular website to raise money for new products has had to pull a controversial book called “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!” from it’s listings.
The book in question (Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!) is a nearly page by page copy/remix of the original Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! with a Star Trek twist. Below is a page from the book Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!
A copy called ComicMix was the original creator of the Star Trek themed book. The book was able to raise tens of thousands of dollars prior to it being removed from Kickstarter. Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed a lawsuit in November 2016 against ComicMix stating the book was an infringement of intellectual property. In June 2017, ComixMix filed a motion to dismiss the case and at the time the judge ruled in favor of ComixMix but allowed Dr. Seuss Enterprises to file again.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed another complaint with some amendments and this time the judge ruled in favor of Dr. Seuss Enterprises stating “Defendants not only use the words [‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’] in the title of Boldly but also use the exact font used by Plaintiff,” the judge continued. “The look of the lettering is unquestionably identical on both books, down to the shape of the exclamation point.”
ComicMix still continues to argue that the book they created was written within “copyright fair use”.
A law professor from the University of Idaho stated “The defendants asserted in their Kickstarter campaign that their use of the Dr. Seuss story was intended to be an homage, which is really the opposite of ridicule, That’s not to say that the defendants’ mashup can’t be fair use, but their lack of a critical purpose does undermine both their characterization of their work as a parody and their reliance on the Supreme Court’s parody fair use precedent.”.
What do you think? Should ComicMix be allowed to use the Dr. Seuss style artwork and pay homage to Dr. Seuss? Or is this a downright attempt to copy?