Godzilla might be currently in retirement, but his lawyers are still fiercely active.
Wired has posted a scary article on Godzilla copyright owner, Toho’s efforts to protect their intellectual property. They and their lawyers have been extremely active and vigilant, it seems.
Warner Bros., for example, didn’t know it needed Toho’s permission to use Godzilla in a 1985 chase scene in Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. The Hollywood studio paid an undisclosed amount to Toho after it was sued.
The U.S. division of Honda Motor suffered a similar fate for displaying a Godzilla float in the Rose Parade, and paid an undisclosed amount to settle a 1991 lawsuit.
“I don’t know if it even occurred to them that the character was protected,” says Charles Shephard, a Los Angeles attorney for Toho, whose office is adorned with a poster that says,”If you thought Godzilla was scary, wait until you meet his lawyers.”
Shephard speculates, “If they used Star Wars or Simpsons characters, I guarantee you they would have sought permission. It’s surprising how much this character is misused in a variety of contexts, especially by major advertisers.”
Image-wise, what is this Godzilla that they are protecting? And how is he different from, say, a T-Rex?
“He’s erect-standing. He’s got muscular arms, scaly skin and spines on back and tail and he breathes fire and has a furrowed brow,” [Godzilla attourney, Aaron] Moss says, repeating arguments Toho often makes in its lawsuits. “He’s got an anthropomorphic torso. The T. rex has emaciated bird-like arms and stands at a 45-degree angle.”
The message is, don’t mess with the King of the Monsters!
Read the full article.
- Via Bob Eggleton