Lagy Gaga Crushes Lady Goo Goo

I have never hidden my concerns over the expanding claims of trademark and copyright protections over common names, symbols, and parodies (here and here and here and here). Now, Lady Gaga has sent in the lawyers to stomp on Lady Goo Goo, a cartoon character on Moshi Monsters, a website on which children adopt and name characters. Lady Goo Goo sings a popular parody called “Petty-razzi” below — a youtube hit.

Despite the obvious parody, Lady Gaga won an injunction banning the release of the new song by Lady Goo Goo called the Moshi Dance — defeating Moshi creators Mind Candy and 50 million users worldwide.

The Moshi Dance racked up millions of hits as a funny parody. As in the United Stats, parody is a defense under trademark laws in England. Yet, Lady Gaga was able to get a temporary injunction.

Once again, I am astonished at artists like Lady Gaga fighting such parodies and even more surprised that a court would go along. Yet our courts have reached similarly bizarre results in some cases. Past tort cases have generally favored celebrities and resulted in rulings like White v. Samsung, a perfectly ludicrous ruling where Vanna White successfully sued over the use of a robot with a blond wig turning cards as the appropriation of her name or likeness. The estate of Humphrey Bogart sued last year for over a couch simply named Bogart. California-retailer Plummers settled the lawsuit this week.

Part of the problem is that we have a large number of law firms on retainer to bring these actions and artists and companies that do little to limit them. The greatest problem is the success of this lobby in getting Congress and the Obama Administration to push through virtually any legislation that they demand — criminalizing violations, approving warrantless searches, and allowing for obscene awards.


26 thoughts on “Lagy Gaga Crushes Lady Goo Goo”

  1. just imagine how put out she’ll feel when nobody cares to parody her at all.

    then “reunion tour”


  2. Someone should find out from Lady Gaga what her view is before condemning her; this move is a disgrace and I would hope she would decisively condemn it and $make sure those responsible in the Gaga machine are told in no uncertain terms to back off. If not then may the curse of the church of scientology be on her.

  3. This is what you get when you see everything through the lens of marketing. In many ways our society places more emphasis on brand then it does on product. Thus, Lady Gaga makes her money from her image and the music is secondary.

  4. Be careful Elaine! You don’t want the Gaga lawyers to go gaga over suing you!
    I agree with Mespo that Madonna should be suing LG for her violations of Madonna’s shtick.

  5. Durward Kirby

    Kirby’s name was spoofed in the animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, where a man’s hat was called the “Kirward Derby”. It supposedly had magic powers that made its wearer the smartest person in the world. Kirby considered suing, but his business manager pointed out that it would only bring more attention to the show. (Jay Ward, producer of The Bullwinkle Show, supposedly offered to pay Kirby to sue him.)

  6. Mike S,

    As a Lady GaGa fan I tend to wonder with Anon if she is even aware of this.
    It may be just a thing of not waiving any rights, and her lawyers not being exposed to malpractice for not protecting her interests.

    They can always settle to preserve all that.

    Maybe that is what is happening.

  7. I thought the cartoon was adorable; I enjoyed it more than real Lady Gaga numbers. Rather than infringe on her reputation, this parody would seem to enhance it.

    Still, lawyers must earn their keep.

  8. The thought ocurrs to me that it is possible that Ga-Ga wasn’t upset about the copyright infringement but just wanted to rid the world of a really bad video……………………or not.

  9. “The lawyers are incentivized by $$$ not by doing well by society.”

    Since when has “doing well by society” been part of the Neo-American Dream? Why should only lawyers be burdened with such socialist baggage? Why should lawyers not partake as fully as any other in the capitalist (in this instance,the capital being a law license), free market system?

    Get all you can, however you can, as long as you can: Herman Can’s 1-1-1 economic policy.

  10. From the Guardian: “Lady Gaga is developing a reputation for being tough on companies looking to cash in on her brand and image. Earlier this year she threatened legal action against Baby Gaga – ice-cream made from human breast milk, blended with vanilla pods and lemon.

    The letter arrived at the Covent Garden store a week after Westminster Council’s food standards department had cleared the shelves to test whether it met hygiene requirements.

    Matt O’Connor, owner of the Icecreamists parlour in Covent Garden, said Lady Gaga claimed the company was trying to “ride the coattails” of her reputation.”

    Apparently, money acts on the same part of the brain as crack cocaine.

  11. As a Lady GaGa fan I tend to wonder with Anon if she is even aware of this. It would disappoint me if she were.

  12. The lawyers are incentivized by $$$ not by doing well by society —
    which in itself is a perversion….given that the law and many aspects of it are not simply ‘creative endeavors’ but are in fact obligations which citizens are not allowed to evade. So to have lawyers using those obligatory laws as means to an ‘incentivized’ ends is merely another perverse abuse on those who are denied access to legitimate and un-corrupt courts.

    it has become a crime to be legal….unless you can afford it…..

  13. “Part of the problem is that we have a large number of law firms on retainer to bring these actions and artists and companies that do little to limit them.”

    I’m certainly not the first person to suggest we kill all the lawyers.

    I do wonder when I read of actions like these, how much the artist is aware of what the lawyers are doing. The lawyers are incentivized by $$$ not by doing well by society — I suspect their connection to Gaga is to stop all infringements, not to necessarily show any discretion.

    Then again, let’s not get mushy mushy that the parody was for kids. That part of it really is irrelevant.

    And finally, as you state the real problem is NOT Gaga, not even her turd lawyers, but the incompetent, corrupt, brain damaged and evil judges that should know better.

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