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Copyfight
May 18, 2004
Lawsuit Launched Over Schwarzenegger BobbleheadsEmail This EntryPrint This Entry
Posted by Ernest Miller

Nearly three weeks ago a couple of posts on Copyfight noted that Governor Schwarzenegger's personal lawyers had sent a cease and desist letter to Bosley Bobbers, maker of fine bobble head dolls (including numerous political caricatures), for marketing a bobble head likeness of California's highest state official. Now, the New York Times reports that the Governor has not backed down and a lawsuit has been filed (Schwarzenegger Files Suit Against Bobblehead Maker). What part of the word "parody" does Governor Schwarzenegger not understand? One of the wonderful things about democracy is that we are able to ridicule and belittle our politicians. When politicians wield so much power it is a good thing to keep their egos somewhat in check with humorous renditions of their features. I see little reason why a 3D spring-mounted bust should receive less First Amendment protection than a political cartoon.

Previous Copyfight coverage:
Schwarzenegger Threatens to Sue Over Bobblehead Doll
Free Speech? Not on the Gubernator's Watch


Category: IP Abuse

COMMENTS
Kevin Hester on May 18, 2004 04:01 PM writes...

A think that this Arnold reaction publication is a key response to this happening:

http://www.fairusepress.com/

(nsfw - shrunken arnold naughty bits on the page)

Permalink to Comment
malachy on May 20, 2004 07:19 PM writes...

why do you think its a parody? I have a barry bonds bobblehead on my desk. is that a parody also? does the fact he now holds public office render it a parody? if he was still simply an actor would you still consider it a parody?

Permalink to Comment
Ernest Miller on May 20, 2004 07:30 PM writes...

Parody: A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.

I think a caricature of a public figure with an intentionally oversized head mounted on a spring is meant for comic effect. Or do you think that it is a realistic portrayal?

Frankly, I think bobbleheads are inherent parodies. If Barry Bonds is caricatured by a political cartoonist, is that a parody or not? What about the bobblehead makes it not a parody?

Permalink to Comment
malachy on May 20, 2004 08:22 PM writes...

what's with the snark? i think i raised a valid question. it may or may not be a parody that falls under the judicial exception to the right of publicity (though not all parodies are fair use). as you are no doubt aware, parody analysis is highly contextual, determined on a case by case basis (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose). I agree that the comic effect of a typical bobblehead militates toward a finding of parody. But it also appears to me a strong usurpation of rights to commercial exploitation of image. it just doesn't appear to be a cut and dried case of IP bullying that this site and others i've seen seem to believe.

Permalink to Comment
MAT on May 21, 2004 04:11 PM writes...

Maybe Arnold does not think it parody. Perhaps Arnold has low self esteem and believes that he really does look and act like a bobblehead. If that be the case then he does have the right to sue.

Permalink to Comment
jim on July 19, 2004 02:49 AM writes...

if he was still simply an actor would you still consider it a parody?
ohh, yes!

Permalink to Comment
Scarlett Johnassen on July 23, 2004 09:57 PM writes...

Since when does Schwarzenegger need a lawyer? Just terminate all bobblehead makers!

Permalink to Comment
Schwarzenegger on July 23, 2004 10:00 PM writes...

Since when does Arnold need to sue? Just terminate the bobblehead makers!

Permalink to Comment
Carl on August 9, 2004 05:01 AM writes...

I think a caricature of a public figure with an intentionally oversized head mounted on a spring is meant for comic effect.

Permalink to Comment
传奇私服 on September 22, 2004 04:15 AM writes...

if he was still simply an actor would you still consider it a parody?
ohh, yes!

Permalink to Comment


TRACKBACKS
TrackBack URL: http://www.corante.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2687
An attempt at a specific legal argument as to why Arnold Schwarzenegger is wrong (Disclaimer - IANAL) [Read More]

Tracked on May 21, 2004 04:04 AM

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a bobblehead manufacturer has settled its free speech case with California Governor Schwarzenegger (Governor's bobblehead says farewell to arms). The company will be permitted to continue to make bobbleheads, sa... [Read More]

Tracked on August 3, 2004 02:02 PM




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