ComicMix Gains Partial Victory in Dr. Seuss Lawsuit Over Literary Mash-Up

Last November, during a Kickstarter campaign to fund Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!, featuring the writing of David Gerrold, the art of Ty Templeton, and the editorial skills of ComicMix’s Glenn Hauman, Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) filed suit for damages claiming the project infringed their copyright and trademark on Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go!

ComicMix LLC moved to dismiss the lawsuit, and the motion was partially granted on June 9. U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino dismissed the trademark infringement claims, but allowed the copyright claim to proceed, awaiting proof of any harm to the Dr. Seuss estate’s licensing opportunities. The estate has been given two weeks to amend its copyright infringement claims.

As ComicMix reports:

Judge Sammartino found that the book is “a highly transformative work that takes no more than necessary [from Dr. Seuss’s books] to accomplish its transformative purpose and will not impinge on the original market for Plaintiff’s underlying work” She emphasized that the case has broader significance: “…This case presents an important question regarding the emerging ‘mash-up’ culture where artists combine two independent works in a new and unique way. … Applying the fair use factors in the manner Plaintiff outlines would almost always preclude a finding of fair use under these circumstances. However, if fair use was not viable in a case such as this, an entire body of highly creative work would be effectively foreclosed.”

The court decision also explained why it rejected the motion to dismiss the copyright infringement claim.

In codifying the fair use doctrine, Congress set forth four non-exclusive factors for courts to consider in evaluating whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is fair:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

…As it stands in this case, factors one and four — which “…have ‘dominated the case law’ and are generally viewed as the most important factors[,] …currently stand in equipoise. Factor two weighs slightly in favor of Plaintiff [DSE], and factor three is neutral. And although it would appear that the purposes of copyright favor Defendants [ComicMix, et al], that determination is also a close and unsettled call. Ultimately, given the procedural posture of this motion and near-perfect balancing of the factors, the Court DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. Specifically, without relevant evidence regarding factor four the Court concludes that Defendants’ fair use defense currently fails as a matter of law.

Doctor Seuss Enterprises has until June 23 to present evidence about the effect on the market for the work whose copyright is allegedly infringed.

Young Steve Vertlieb’s TV Appearances — and Disappearances

By Steve Vertlieb : In the Summer of 1982, a young aspiring television film critic reviews a new film from director Steven Spielberg called E.T. I was being groomed at the time to be a weekly entertainment and film critic for WTAF TV29 (then an affiliate of Taft Broadcasting). The segments would have aired on Friday mornings, as part of the station’s daily, hour-long “Newsprobe” news and information series. The TV station was subsequently purchased by Fox Television, and changed its call letters to the current WTXF TV. While a noble “pilot” effort by everyone concerned, the idea was ultimately abandoned, and this fledgling television Roger Ebert found his on air career in shambles, except for some sporadic “guest” appearances in museums, universities, and on competing tv stations. Consequently, “A Star Was Shorn.”

  • STEVE VERTLIEB – “Review of E.T.” WTAF TV 29 clip (8/6/82)

Here’s a 1985 Halloween television appearance on NBC network affiliate, KYW TV, in Philadelphia during which host Dana Hilger and I discuss the often snobbish, yet universal popularity of horror films through the years. This is one of several television appearances that I made during the late Seventies, and early- to mid-Eighties. As you can readily tell from my youthful look on camera, this was taped, quite obviously, just a couple of weeks ago.

  • STEVE VERTLIEB – “People Are Talking” Halloween Special (circa early 1980s)

Pasadena Memorial Day Ceremony

By John King Tarpinian: Today was the dedication of the statue created by Christopher Slatoff, known by us as the man who created the Father Electrico bronze inspired by Ray Bradbury.

Here is a close-up of some details of the statute: Razor blade, bullet, matches, and Legos. Baseball not pictured.

This morning was also the annual fly-over of the San Gabriel Valley by WW2 aircraft. This photo was taken looking towards the Pasadena Elks Lodge, with the Rose Bowl being to the left.

Sir Peter Cushing Remembered

Steve Vertlieb, left, Peter Cushing, right, in 1975.

By Steven J. Vertlieb: We lovingly remember and celebrate the 104th Birthday (born May 26, 1913) of the magnificent Peter Cushing, the cultured gentleman of horror who, along with partner and friend Christopher Lee, led Hammer Film Productions in England to near mythical success and legend during the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies.

Peter became a friend through correspondence during the Sixties and Seventies. His letters were often searingly open, and heartbreakingly honest. We met finally at New York ‘s “Famous Monsters of Filmland” film convention during the torrid Summer of 1975.

Here I am with Peter upon our meeting at this memorable gathering. When I reminded him of our long correspondence, he said “Ah, Yes…You used to write me with your brother…just like Laurel and Hardy.” Just adorable.

With our beloved Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing was, perhaps, England’s most cherished export during his shared tenure as Hammer Films’ most prominent actor and star. Wishing Abraham Van Helsing and Baron Frankenstein a joyous, Gothic, Happy Birthday in horror Heaven.

Star Trek Trivia and Mysteries Revealed

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Things about Star Trek you probably missed. “11 nifty little visual details you never noticed in ‘Star Trek'” from MeTV.

Star Trek: The Original Series presented an entirely unique world to dazzled audiences in the 1960s. Each week, we discovered new aliens, distant green planets, future technology and the complex workings of the Federation.

Naturally, this meant a ton of props and sets had to be built, for not very much money. The production crew did a brilliant job, led by creative whizzes like set designer and art director Walter M. Jefferies. The production could turn garbage into gold — literally, they would sometimes dig through the trash at Desilu Studios for discarded materials to repurpose.

You can spot lots of clever little details if you know where to look. The crew even hid some little in-jokes to amuse themselves. Here are some of our favorites.

(2) Minor Star Trek set goofs. “10 minor goofs you never noticed in ‘Star Trek'”

Still, some errors inevitably made it onto the screen. There was no hiding the stunt doubles with computer technology, and the shadow of the boom microphone appears in too many shots to list here. Here are 10 of our favorite minor mistakes. In a way, they somehow make the entire series more impressive, once you realize the materials they were working with.

(3) Star Trek color quiz. “How well do you remember the colors of ‘Star Trek’?”

Let’s start off easy. What color is Spock’s uniform?

(4) Khan trivia. “11 things you never knew about Khan, the greatest ‘Star Trek’ villain”.

The character was originally meant for ‘Captain Video and His Video Rangers.’

“Space Seed” co-writer and story creator Carey Wilber dreamt up the plot years earlier for Captain Video, a pioneering, low-budget sci-fi show from the early 1950s. There were some major differences, however, as the original narrative involved Ancient Greeks with mythological powers awakening from cryogenic suspension in outer space.

(5) The Next Generation. ScreenRant is ready to reveal “15 Things You Never Knew About Data”.

  1. Data Has Beaten Wolverine In A Fight

There have been several comic books and novels released over the years that have crossed the X-Men over with the cast of Star Trek

In the comic series Second Contactthe crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation are sent back in time by Kang the Conqueror and arrive on Earth during the time when the X-Men are active. Data and Geordi are sent to infiltrate the X-Men’s mansion, where they run afoul of Wolverine. Data grabs Wolverine by the shoulder and throws him across the room like it’s no big thing. Colossus enters the room, only to have one of his punches stopped in its tracks by Data.

This wasn’t the first time that Wolverine jobbed out to a Starfleet officer. In Star Trek/X-Men, Mr. Spock would take out an angry Wolverine with the Vulcan nerve pinch. It seems that a healing factor and an adamantium-coated skeleton weren’t enough to stop Mr. Spock.

(6) When Sulu blew a gasket. “6 Times Sulu Lost It…Or Almost Did”.

While stoic in his own way, Sulu has his fair share of craziness in Star Trek: The Original Series. Traditionally, Hikaru Sulu is the unflappably cool guy with a good head on his shoulders, a close second to the logic-driven Spock. However, Sulu is human like all of us. And like all of us, he has his breakdowns, has strayed off the beaten path, and has gotten downright angry. These incidences are usually under the guise of alien mind control, but still.

Here are six moments where Sulu’s cool-guy veneer shattered.

(7) Kirk, the smooching starship captain. “Watch all of Captain Kirk’s captivating kisses on ‘Star Trek'”.

James T. Kirk certainly had more than a few romantic interests over the course of Star Treks three seasons. His title may be captain, but he was the Casanova aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. The captain kisses almost every woman he comes in contact with, regardless of whether they were from a different planet or even a fellow commander.

(8) Star Trek opinion survey. “How popular are your ‘Star Trek’ opinions?”

Star Trek, like all science fiction franchises with a rabid fan base, is the cause of many friendly debates. What is the greatest episode? Who the greatest captain? Klingons or Romulans?

Well, we’re here to tally your opinions on Star Trek: The Original Series. Answer these questions and see how your responses stack up against other Trekkies.

(9) Star Trek fan incomes. “More people prefer Star Wars, but Star Trek fans make more money”.

Last month, PayScale Human Capital polled 4,308 people. The survey asked a simple question: “Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?” PayScale being a business concerned with income, it also gathered data on the salaries of those who participated. Tapping its database of more than 50 million individual salary profiles, PayScale released its findings on Star Wars Day yesterday, May the Fourth. The results are pretty fascinating.

46% of those surveyed prefered Star Wars.

14% percent prefered Star Trek.

Okay, Trekkies, you’re losing that battle like the Bajorans in the Kendra Valley Massacre. 14% also asked, “What’s the difference?” An equal percentage said, “I love them both,” while 12% declared, “I hate them both.” Well then.

However, Trek lovers do have one major bragging right — Trekkies make more money.

(10) Survey Says. “Star Wars Or Star Trek, The Fans Have Spoken [Infographic]”

Ray Harryhausen’s Praise for Film Composers

By Steven J. Vertlieb: Special effects and stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen candidly discusses his affection, respect, admiration, and love for three-time Oscar-winning composer Miklos Rozsa in this deeply personal correspondence, commenting on their very special working relationship, and ever evolving mutual friendship.

A lovely note from Ray Harryhausen concerning Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and the art of Music For The Movies:

SFWA VP M.C.A. Hogarth Steps Down; Hartshorn Fills In

After three years of service as Vice President, M.C.A. Hogarth has stepped down. Director at Large Erin Hartshorn has agreed to fill in as interim Vice President until a formal election in May of 2018.

SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “I’m sorry to see Maggie go; her efforts have been vital in moving SFWA along in recent years, and I will deeply miss her input on the weekly calls. One of my maxims will remain, ‘What would Maggie say?’”

Among the projects Hogarth worked on during the past three years are: the Partnerships Program, which builds relationship between SFWA and organizations like Amazon, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Audible; the SFWA Guidebook, a work-in-progress designed to acquaint members with the wealth of services SFWA offers; the Self-Publishing Committee; the SFWA Star Project Initiative; and SFWA Ed, an educational initiative which will eventually benefit writers both within and outside of SFWA.

Erin Hartshorn’s Director at Large position will be filled by an interim Director appointed by the President and approved by the board; an announcement will be forthcoming. Rambo adds, “It’s been heartening to find so many people willing to step up and run for SFWA office recently; I hope to see this trend continue in the next election cycle.”

Mohanraj Wins Seat As Library Trustee

Mary Anne Mohanraj has been elected a Library Trustee for The Village of Oak Park, IL. When voters went to the polls on April 4th four seats were open, and she received the second-highest number of votes out of the 10 candidates for the board.

Author, academic, journal editor, and founder and director of the Speculative Literature Foundation, Mohanraj responded to Trump’s election by becoming more active in local politics. She attended an Oak Park Progressive Women meeting and was approached about running for office, eventually deciding to enter the Library Trustee race.

Here is video of a candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on March 14. Mohanraj first speaks at 6:15.

Eric Lindsay Reported Safe After Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Longtime fanzine fan Eric Lindsay lives in one of the buildings most damaged by Tropical Cyclone Debbie when it struck Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia last week. The Category 4 storm reached peak gusts of 163 mph just offshore.

After Eric regained internet access, he sent an update to let his friends know he’s still in one piece.

Please pass this along to any fans you can.

The reason no one has heard from me is that I was in Airlie Beach when Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck. Went through the whole eye of the cyclone event in my apartment at the Whitsunday Terraces. Luckily Jean [Weber] was 270 kilometres further north.

Optus Mobile was lost on Monday, the evening before the cyclone. Electricity went out at 10:18 p.m. the evening before the cyclone. That took out landline internet via WiFi. Water went out on Wednesday, the day after the cyclone, because there was no electric pumping available for the water feed system.

Ergon Energy are saying today they hope to have electricity back by 13 April. Meanwhile a lot of big portable generators have appeared around town. For example, at sewerage pumping sub-sites.

The road up North from Townsville down to here is open again, but basically only for emergency vehicles and supplies. The road to the South of the state is cut multiple places.

Woolworths at Airlie Beach had at least 5 big truck loads in the day before the cyclone. On Thursday two trucks (out of an original convoy of four) made it through town with supplies for Hamilton Island. Friday at least five trucks brought supplies to Woolworths, which had installed a big generator. They opened on Friday, only place in town to open. The larger Coles and Woolworths at Cannonvale both had roof damage that took out their electrical systems. They both had generators, but could not use them.

As well as slabs of bottled water, I had about 50 litres of water in buckets. Refilled one bucket overnight in the rain the Wednesday after TC Debbie.

Luckily the sewerage system survived. Just had to walk down seven flights of stairs to get a bucket of water from the swimming pool to refill the cisterns for flushing. That got real tiring real quick. While I could, I used water I mopped up in my apartment (about 2 cm of water on the floor) for the cisterns.

Despite water pipes being badly exposed in the rainstorm on Wednesday, the pipes feeding here did not break. Wednesday Airlie Beach basically flooded to about 1 metre in the low areas on the Main Street. That flood probably did as much damage to some places, like the Chemist shop, as the cyclone. We got water back technically Friday evening, and with more than a dribble by Saturday evening. I plan to start a decent inside cleanup today, Sunday, now I have water.

The Whitsunday Terraces on-site rental managers Katie and Tony have been running a BBQ morning, noon and evening, for guests and residents. Lots of shop staff rent apartments here, so we had frozen food donations from the Anchor Bar and Restaurant on site, Subway, Whitey at the Master Butchers, and many other places. I have never eaten so much BBQ meat. Tony managed to buy a small generator on Friday, so the big fridge in Reception is working.

Hamilton Island airport got back into operation around Friday. Empty flights have been coming it to evacuate the 3000 guests. Ferries are shuttling people there from other islands as evacuations continue.

Lots of military helicopters have been dropping in, and there is now a large Navy vessel offshore. Military have been supplying water to people who bring containers.

Whitsunday Terraces Resort where I live is said to be the worst hit building, by the roofing specialist I helped show around late yesterday. He is returning today with tarps, if he can buy some locally. Otherwise his supplies arrive Monday.

As for me, I am pretty comfortable here in the tropics. I have folding solar panels and power banks for charging my mobile phone and iPads. When it is sunny I get plenty for that. I also have USB desk lamps that run off power banks. I have a couple of large battery camping fans that recharge from 12 volts. I have some big folding solar panels that will charge them.

On Saturday I managed to get a large folding solar panel, GEL battery and inverter all together. Had half an afternoon of traditional internet connection via WiFi, until the sun was gone. I will bring that system up again today.

I am in 63. Here is a photograph of next door at 64:

Here is a photo of 60, at the parking level:

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Rich Lynch for the story.]

Ruined, Ruined by Mike Resnick’s Columns

By Carl Slaughter: Every issue of Asimov’s, I try to read Sheila Williams’ or Robert Silverberg’s column.  Every issue of Galaxy’s Edge, I try to read Barry Malzberg’s column.  I can’t do it.  Same for any other columnist, no matter what the topic.  Not since discovering Mike Resnick’s columns.

Mike doesn’t ponder and wonder, he doesn’t extrapolate and pontificate, he regales with tales.  His columns are as insightful as they are delightful.  And since he’s a walking encyclopedia of speculative fiction, he never runs out of material.  Having sampled enough of Mike’s columns, I can’t get past 4 paragraphs of anyone else’s column without my eyes glazing over.  I am ruined, ruined.

I have warned Mike more than once that if he ever tries to give up writing columns, he might as well give up the convention circuit too. Because at every convention, his fans would chain him to a computer until he wrote at least one more column. Those of you who have not indulged, you need to go ahead and get yourself addicted.