Cease and desist letter to ComicMix for posting ‘Astro Boy’ image
UPDATE 8/5/09: The issue has been resolved between Imagi and us. See here for more details.
So we got this in our feedback form recently:
From: Rebecca Henning
This law firm represents Imagi Crystal Limited (“Imagi”), the exclusive owner of the copyright in the as-yet-to-be-released CGI Astro Boy Movie and various images and depictions of the anime character Astro Boy, including the depiction at this link: http://www.comicmix.com//news/2009/07/23/sdcc-astro-boy-panel/ (the “Image”).
It recently has come to our attention that without authorization you have posted the Image at the link set forth above and represent that it is related to and/or connected with the Astro Boy Movie and/or sponsored or endorsed by Imagi (the “Posting”).
Please be advised that the Posting constitutes, among other things, false advertising and unfair competition in violation of Imagi’s exclusive rights, and further constitutes infringement of Imagi’s protected rights under the Copyright Act, all of which subjects you to a claim for injunctive relief and damages. Accordingly, on behalf of Imagi, we hereby demand that you immediately remove the Posting from your website, and further, that you immediately provide written confirmation that you have done so.
Be further advised that if you do not comply with the demands set forth above, Imagi will have no choice but to institute an action against you — and any persons or entities acting in concert with you — which will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Please confirm to us right away that you have complied with the demands of this letter. Otherwise, Imagi will have no option other than to act promptly to protect its rights.
This letter is not intended as a complete statement of the facts or of Imagi’s rights, remedies and causes of action, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.
Very truly yours,
Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall LLP
9665 Wilshire Boulevard, Ninth Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
And here is our reply:
The image in question has been removed.
To play it on the safe side, we have also removed the article in question, and every article related to the Astro Boy movie from our web site.
Obviously, we will be unable to trust any Astro Boy images that we get from third parties, because they may simply be claiming to have permission to promote Astro Boy and we simply don’t have the time to check to see if, say, Summit Entertainment is in any way connected with Imagi… so it would just be easier to not cover the movie at all. Or the DVD release. Or the comic book adaptation, which will certainly be entertaining to explain to the publisher.
For that matter, we should probably be concerned about showing any images from other Imagi productions, such as Gatchaman, Highlander, TMNT, or Gigantor. We’ll just skip covering them as well. And we should also notify all of the other people and news organizations who are providing press coverage on the web for any Imagi properties to be careful running any images related to their properties, lest they run afoul of lawyers. I can think of a few large websites running your precious image right now, I’m sure their thinking will mirror ours.
It’s a shame. You could have handled this like the nice folks at Guinness World Records. When we used an image on their web site to promote an article about them, they wrote a very polite letter, did not threaten legal action at all, and provided us with alternate images to use. Even though our usage of the image clearly fell within fair use, we were happy to replace the image because we appreciated the tone and their efforts to find a useful solution.
But hey, you’re just doing your job. So are we. And right now, it’s going to be a lot easier to do our jobs by not having anything to do with Imagi products, certainly not by promoting them in any way. And I’m sure it’s going to be a lot easier for other folks to do the same.