The LA Times recently brought light to a potential “copyright infringement” situation involving Snoopy and The Smiths. Lauren LoPrete created a Tumblr page called This Charming Charlie, posting altered Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips removed of their original character dialogue replaced with lyrics by the band The Smiths. Despite LoPrete’s good-humored, good intentions, the Universal Music Group publishing arm wasn’t thrilled. Last week, LoPrete posted a note from the Tumblr administration that they’ve been receiving numerous requests from UMG to remove the material from the site. She received a number of takedown notices.
In a push to fight back, her lawyer Dan Booth filed a counter-notice asking the posts to be restored. “These brief experts [from The Smiths’ lyrics] are used to transformative effect… They also have no commercial purpose, and cannot have any negative effect on the market for the original works,” said Booth. Ultimately, Universal Music decided not to pursue a lawsuit, but the momentary freak-out has caused enough alarm to rethink what determines fair use and infringement.
By: Priscilla Kim