Barney barney makes dino outfit purple with rage
Say 'Cybercheese' - you're on a candid Web site
An irreverent Web site has stuck two fingers up to annoying purple kids dinosaur "Barney" after being threatened with legal action over the "use and threat of violence towards the children's character".
Cybercheese - which boasts "It's a joke doing business with you" - runs an item on its site entitled "150 Ways to Kill the Purple Dinosaur".
Top of the list is making the dino "watch his own show". Other suggestions include giving the purple monster a "nitro-glycerine suppository", kitting him out with a "home lobotomy kit" and "sewing his lips to his rectum".
Unfortunately, the firm that owns the rights to Barney - The Lyons Partnership - is unhappy at the torturous comments made against its stuffed puppet.
In a letter sent by attorney, Matthew W Carlin of New York-based Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP, the Lyons Partnership said it "vigorously objects to the unsavoury and unwholesome content that you [Cybercheese] have associated with its trademark and service mark Barney."
It warned that Cybercheese was in breach of trademark and copyright laws and gave the site until June 27 to comply to its demands to remove the material or face the threat of further legal action.
Last week Cybercheese replied to the legal letter threatening to counter sue if the Lyons Partnership proceeded with its lawsuit.
It said: "This mouth is counsel to Cybercheeze, ("Media Beyond Inc."), the owners of the exclusive right to use the copyrighted term 'Kiss my ass'® as well as the federally registered and famous trademark and service mark 'piss off'.
It continued: "It has come to the attention of Cybercheeze that you are operating an illegal scam called 'Strong Arm' under the guise of 'Intellectual Property'. We have reviewed your letter and found that it not only is about as intellectual as the purple quivering mass of gyrating goo you call Barney, but that it also is demeaning to everyone that visits our website and reads this worthless attempt and scare tactic."
Cybercheese believes that the idea that "Barney is 'a recognised and distinctive famous trademark' slightly overrated" and points to a 1998 court ruling in which Barney's owners lost a similar case to "The Famous San Diego Chicken".
At the time the judge ruled that a comedy sketch ridiculing Barney was nothing more than "a parody, pure and simple" and the copyright and trademark infringement case was thrown out of court.
The success of that case has prompted Cybercheese to boast: "Lyons Partnership Can't do Dick!"
Barney's attorney, Mr Carlin, told The Register: "This case is being discussed today. I'm not sure what we're going to do next."
What about bowing out gracefully for starters? ®