Disney is Suing a Florida Company for Copyright Infringement
According to reporting from News Channel 8, Disney and LucasFilm have filed a lawsuit against Mouseprint Media LLC, a Central Florida business that they accuse of copyright infringement. Among other things, Disney alleges that Mouseprint Media is selling merchandise that intentionally infringes on its logos and designs. Here, we provide an overview of the copyright infringement claim and explain the requirements you need to meet to get copyright protection for a design.
Allegations: Florida Company is Selling Merchandise With Disney Designs
In its copyright infringement lawsuit, Disney contends that Mouseprint Media—which operates a digital store—is unlawfully using protected designs. The relatively small merchandise store that is run by Mouseprint Media is called “DisGear.” In its marketing materials, this store refers to itself as one of the premier locations for Disney-themed t-shirts. As an example, DisGear offers some products that bear some resemblance to Mickey Mouse’s ears and Cinderella Castle.
Disney argues that the company does not have the legal right to sell these products. It is now taking action to protect its intellectual property. Disney and LucasFilm have sent Mouseprint Media a cease and desist letter and they are seeking an undisclosed amount of financial damages from the company.
Copyright Protects Original Works of Authorship—Including Designs
When most people think about copyright protection, the first thing that comes to mind is usually books and other written materials. What many people do not know is that copyright protection is available for a wide range of original works of authorship, including many different types of innovative or otherwise unique designs.
In order to be eligible for copyright protection, a design must be represented within a tangible objective. As an example, Disney’s claim in the aforementioned copyright infringement lawsuit is based, in large part, on its ownership over ‘Mickey Mouse’ design and other similar designs that have long been used by the company.
You can only obtain copyright protection for a work of authorship if it satisfies the threshold of originality. If a work does not show at least some minimal degree of creativity, it is not copyrightable under United States law. In some cases, only certain aspects of a particular work are eligible for copyright protection.
In some cases, the line between what qualifies for copyright protection and what qualifies for trademark protection can be blurry. If your company is facing legal action from another firm that alleges that you are infringing on a copyright or a trademark, you should be ready to seek professional legal representation.
Call Our Florida Copyright Infringement Lawyer for Immediate Guidance
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami copyright litigation attorneys have the skills and focus to effectively represent companies that are being sued for infringement. To learn more about what we can do for you, please call us today. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, our legal team is well positioned to serve clients all over Southeastern Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, Homestead, Jupiter, and Hialeah.