Designers of the Phillie Phanatic 'sculpture' have threatened to terminate their copyright transfer after 35 years, per a lawsuit filed by the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
Initially we leased the Phanatic to the team for appearances and paid a royalty to them for the licensed products we did. The first year of licensing we did over two million dollars in sales in the Philly area. Eventually we had a number of successful programs with teams who wanted to be able to control of the characters and were able to enforce the copyrights so we sold the Phanatic and then others to the teams.
Many made light of the mascot's pending "free agency", with the Washingtonian promoting a move to D.C. But for teams in a similar situation, such disputes could mean serious payouts - at least for lawyers - and given the time periods involved, the issue might soon touch on works in furry fandom.
If you live in Ontario, you probably haven't heard of Marc Scott - but you've probably seen him if you watched children's shows on TVOntario, the province's educational broadcaster (similar to PBS). He used to perform as the costumed character known as "Polkaroo", a polka-dotted kangaroo on the station's preschool TV series Polka-Dot Door from 1985 to 1993, and on later series such as Polka-Dot Shorts (1993-2001) and on Gisèle's Big Backyard (2001-2007).
His name has recently returned to the limelight - in a less than flattering way - after he attracted the attention of his former employer. He's received a cease-and-desist order and might face a potential lawsuit for creating and wearing an "unauthorized parody" of Polkaroo, named "Tokaroo", a red-eyed and brown-furred marijuana-smoking marsupial he created in celebration of Canada legalizing Marijuana on October 17, 2018.
Tony the Tiger has fled Twitter, and furries are to blame. At least that is how the story is told on Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg in her article about the mascot’s disappearence from social media. It talks about the cereal mascot’s unfortunate run in with some very thirsty furry fans, who made it a habit of bogging his social media responses with sexual innuendo and sometimes more blatant passes. Back when this started to occur, the cereal mascot began to ban furries at random, even if they were not engaging in the activity of coming onto the fiction character.
When this made the news rounds back in early 2016 it was known as “#TonyTigerGate”, in honor of the internet’s tendency of putting the gate suffix on anything even the slightest bit controversial that most normal people don’t actually care about. It would be overly dismissive to claim that it wasn’t a big topic of discussion in the fandom about public decorum and our relationships with corporations back when it occurred.
But in regards to this recent turn of events, Ashley uses her article to claim that Tony the Tiger’s account was replaced by the less furry account called simply Frosted Flakes in order to douse the horny furries in cold milk. But, further investigation reveals a far more intriguing story. One of a mascot caught in an international assassination plot against his very life. Not a story of a company’s combat against the internet’s lusts, but one of a government’s fight against glutton of the youths of their respective nations and the mascots used to stimulate that hunger.
Midwest FurFest has always had a no-piracy rule. The specific wording may change from year to year, but the intent and implementation has not. If you have further questions or concerns, please engage with our Dealers Den staff directly, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Midwest FurFest (@FurFest) August 12, 2018
Midwest Furry Fandom Inc. prohibits the sale or offer for sale at Midwest FurFest of items that reproduce third parties’ intellectual property without the express written permission from the owner.
Prohibited are included but not limited to:
Unlicensed depictions of characters appearing in third parties' movies, TV shows, books, sound recordings, still images, sculptures or any other media. No fan art; no counterfeit goods.
Similar to Craiglist's decision to shut down its personal ads section, Dallas-Fort Worth-hosted furry dating service Pounced.org is down, pending interpretation of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which passed the U.S. Senate Wednesday.
FOSTA is intended to assist victims of sex trafficking, by allowing them to sue websites that facilitated their abuse. This gives previously undue liability to the platform for actions and content of third-party users; so Pounced.org is shutting down as a preventive measure while Kelar, the site's founder, seeks legal counsel.
The website, launched 15 years ago this month, hosted more than 13,000 ads from furries seeking friends, dates, or casual encounters within the fandom. Visitors are now directed to criticism of the bill from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization.
Update 03/26/18: The message on Pounced.org has been updated. Users can now read a much more in-depth explanation of the motivation for the shut-down, and concerns over the meaning of the bill:
As previously covered, furry author Peter S. Beagle has been in the throes of the American court system for nearly two years now, fighting his former publishing agent Connor Cochran for damages and restitution for 15 causes of action including fraud, defamation, and elder abuse. I won't rehash all the details, but Cochran's history of sharp practice is long and appalling. Mr. Beagle deserves an end to these proceedings as quickly as due diligence will allow, but Cochran would rather drag things out in a war of attrition.
One example of the Conlan Press founder's meandering through convoluted legal roadblocks was his filing of a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, on the basis there were no issues of fact to support the allegations in not just one, or a few, but in all 15 causes of action. Initially given a tentative ruling on October 24, this was contested by Cochran. After arguing the matter, the tentative ruling was affirmed. The result? All but one of Mr. Beagle's causes of action were sustained.
At the end of April, I posted a Newsbyte regarding a charity art drive to benefit “lifelong furry” and renowned fantasy author Peter S. Beagle, in order to fund his legal costs and living expenses as he litigates a suit against his former agent.
That was the first I had heard of the troubles of The Last Unicorn’s author. Upon seeing that Uncle Kage had tweeted about this situation in 2016, however, I learned this suit had been going on for longer than I realized, and I took the time to look deeply into the situation.
What I found was horrifying, and the rabbit hole seemed to go deeper the more I looked. Today I'm going to go into more detail about this shameful situation, bringing it to light in the hopes that the more people who know, the more help Beagle will receive.
Get ready, this is gonna be a long ride. If you don't want to read every single detail, I implore you to scroll down to the "How you can help" section, or at least spread this message as far as you can. Beagle needs as many friends as he can get right now.
Peter S. Beagle is suing his former agent for elder abuse, fraud, defamation, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other related allegations, which you can read in full here [PDF].
Are furry podcasts unsuitable for breakfast? FM listeners in Colorado sure thought so!
On the morning of April 5, Denver-area FM station KIFT 106.3 "The Lift" suffered a broadcast signal intrusion on a relay station serving a remote valley. Instead of Bruno Mars, listeners in Breckenridge, Colorado were treated to Paradox Wolf, Fayroe and friends.
Denver station KCNC-TV "CBS 4" contacted The Lift for an explanation, and were told they send programing from their studio to four transmitters via the Internet. Somehow, the Breckenridge repeater K258AS (99.5 FM) was compromised, and someone had spliced in Furcast Episode 224 in place of The Lift.
Thankfully, the primary FM and webcasts of both The Lift and Furcast.FM / XBN were unaffected, but a large amount of NSFW programming, including swearing, was broadcast without censorship for several hours, with The Lift's engineers unable to kill the studio/transmitter link remotely.
On FurCast's end, their server saw a gradual rise in connections to its podcast archive (used on its website and iOS and Android apps for listeners) from 06:00 AM EDT onwards, until they were able to temporarily disable access at 02:30 PM EDT. The archives have since come back online at a new address, with a long list of blocked IP addresses to prevent a recurrence.
These are the first two volumes of T.R. Brown’s Reflections series. Amazon.com has a special subcategory for them: Genetic Engineering Science Fiction. They should be required reading for every furry author who plans to write human-into-anthropomorphized-animal fiction. They are also good reading for everyone else.
The two are narrated by the protagonist, Todd Hershel. The setting is an unspecified future, but there are automatic/robot cars, artificial islands (“Libertarian Colonies”) for dissidents, personal computers that unfold from pocket-size, artificially-grown organ harvesting, references to a second American Civil War in the recent past and “the Vatican in exile” and bioengineered animal people grown for soldiers in wars. For legal reasons, these humanoid “neos” are required to look like the animals they are based upon.
I was driving back from a meeting with a supplier and there was a semi pulling a load of scrap metal slightly ahead of me in the next lane. My car alerted me to be ready to take over manual control, pulling me away from the e-mails I had been working on. I saw the reason immediately. An accident a couple of miles ahead. An ambulance and other emergency personnel were already on site. That probably saved my life. […] the semi next to me had a blowout in the front wheel. […] Autopilots are good, but they can’t handle an emergency like that and, before the operator could take over, the semi jerked into my lane […] (p. 1)
Todd wakes up in a hospital two months later. His body was completely crushed by the scrap metal. Since this was an unplanned medical emergency, no substitute body has been prepped for him. The only suitable usable body that can be found on emergency notice is a brain-dead felis neo – a female, at that. Todd’s wife Colleen is not happy about that, but she agrees that the important thing is to save his life. They can worry later about getting a new human body, or at least a sex-change operation back to male and cosmetic surgery to make him look more human, later.
The first 50-odd pages are filled with the details of Todd’s exploring his new body, bioengineered from a panther to be a brawny feline soldier.
“We considered just putting your head on the new body,” Walt [a doctor] continued, “but, in addition to the aesthetic problem of a human head on a felis body, there would also have been tissue rejection to deal with.” (p. 9)
The Face in the Mirror; A Transhuman Identity Crisis, by T. R. Brown, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2012, trade paperback $17.40 (501 pages), Kindle $2.99.
Chained Reflections, by T. R. Brown, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2013, trade paperback $19.99 (558 pages), Kindle $2.99.
Word is spreading fast that the creators of the Ursa-Major-nominated film Ted are facing a lawsuit. “The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes have filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted ‘is an unlawful copy’ of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.” Any merit to this? So far the targets of the lawsuit haven’t responded, but you can visit Charlie’s official web site and check things out for yourself.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to register the New York state furry convention's name as a mark in August 2013, after identifying the terms 'furry' and 'con' as "merely descriptive":
“Furry” refers to “fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.” - “Con” is a “common abbreviation for convention”.
At that time, a "furry" was also cited by the examiner as:
someone who is part of a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics
Various Wikipedia and WikiFur articles were used as references, as well as George Gurley's "Pleasures of the Fur" in Vanity Fair, the Anthrocon, Furry 4 Life, Furry Fandom Infocenter, Furry Connection North and Georgia Furs websites, and a con report on SoFurry.
Furry auction site FurBuy has added a classified listings service, among other updates, positioning it as a "furry Craigslist". Listings so far include furry identification badges, a skunk suit for sale, and a request for a sewing partner. However, ongoing competition from social art sites has lead to a threat of closure later this year, reminiscent of those made over a decade ago.
M.C.A. Hogarth is a furry artist and writer whose works have appeared in several publications. A guest of honor at Midwest FurFest 2003 and 2009, her short story In the Line of Duty was the winner of the 2003 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction. Recently, Hogarth's e-novel Spots the Space Marine was the target of a claim of trademark violation by Games Workshop, developer and publisher of tabletop wargames Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
It was on December 13 that Hogarth received an e-mail from online retailer Amazon.com, informing her that they had stopped selling Spots the Space Marine. The explanation given centred around the use of the phrase "space marine". Although an archetype of science fiction dating back to 1932, Games Workshop holds trademarks on the phrase in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.
Wired reports that Chicago artist Rob Loukotka has created an advertising poster for fictional ACME Corp. that shows 126 of its products that Wile E. Coyote has ordered in his attempts to catch the Road Runner, including the jet-propelled tennis shoes, rocket-powered pogo stick, and tornado seeds.
The giant poster (24” x 36”, or 2’ x 3’) is not quite ready to order. Loukotka has a Kickstarter project to raise $3,000 to print it. Considering that the project is still going and that he has $79,110 pledged so far, this looks assured. Loukotka is asking for $30 pledges; each pledger will receive the poster. Non-pledgers can buy it for $30 after it is printed; $40 outside the U.S
Loukotka has other posters, but this is the only one with an anthropomorphic tie-in.
Update (21 Dec): The Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Bros. trademarked the ACME logo, too, though Loukotka was careful not to mention WB or Wile E. Coyote on the poster. [Ed.: The USPTO cancelled the trademark in 2010 as they failed to file a 10-year renewal.]