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June 20, 2005
More IP Maximalism Than You Can Shake a Stick At
First it was cakes, now it's pinatas:
The LA Times has a very interesting story on the lawsuits by big entertainment companies against one of the dirt-floored businesses in central Los Angeles that sells pinatas in the image of characters subject to copyright and trademark protections. I am quoted in that story as saying that a group of large entertainment companies have to sue these tiny businesses, which apparently have revenues often less than $50,000 per year. This is not my view. ...As with most interesting legal questions, there are two or more sides to any set of facts. ...It is almost certainly the case that executives of these companies felt compelled to enforce these rights by issuing cease and desist letters, seeking to get the infringement to stop without going to court, and then to file suit against a handful of the pinateros.
But far from thinking that these executives are compelled to make such a decision, I think it's absurd to have filed them.
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