No Boop for you, Fleischer family

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Betty Boop

Betty Boop

Betty Boop mer­chan­dis­ing, the Ninth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The court ruled in a 2–1 deci­sion that the chain of title had been bro­ken after the orig­i­nal sale of the rights to Betty over 70 years ago. In essence, it said, Fleischer’s fam­ily lacks a valid copy­right or trade­mark for Betty.

A 1930 court opin­ion said that Fleis­cher cre­ated the appeal­ing female who “com­bined in appear­ance the child­ish with the sophis­ti­cated — a large round baby face with big eyes and a nose like a but­ton, framed in a some­what care­ful coif­fure, with a very small body.”

In 1941, Fleis­cher trans­ferred the rights to Betty Boop’s image and car­toons to Para­mount Pic­tures Inc. Accord­ing to the fam­ily, the rights were trans­ferred sev­eral more times before they reverted to the fam­ily through their firm, Fleis­cher Stu­dios Inc.

After­ward, the fam­ily started to license Ms. Boop for use in mer­chan­dise. A.V.E.L.A. Inc., a com­pany which licenses images of the char­ac­ter, were sued by the fam­ily for copy­right infringement.

More at The Big Car­toon Forum

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