Legal Archives / Over-Bearing

Any Pico fan has ubdoubtedly played the Pico/Assassin crossover, "Pico vs. Bear in the Big House that Blew" - a parody of Bear in the Big Blue House. In what has become a growing NG trend, I am approached by a dead person's lawyers. Here's what I got from Jim Henson's buddies in black.


February 7, 2000

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

Tom Fulp
TFulp@fast.net

Re: “Pico vs. Bear in the Big Blue House”

Dear Mr. Fulp:

I am writing this letter on behalf of The Jim Henson Company (“JHC”). As you know, JHC owns all copyright and trademark rights in the highly successful “Bear in the Big Blue House” children’s television show.

We’ve recently been informed that you’re the author of the game “Pico vs. Bear in the Big Blue House,” which can be found at “http://www.newgrounds.com.” We imagine that a great deal of time and effort went into such an elaborate online game. However, we believe the game goes far beyond what would be protected by fair use and/or parody. We hope that you understand that JHC cannot allow its intellectual property to be used without its authorization, particularly in association with such overtly violent material. Given your expression of respect for the creative talents of Jim Henson and the company that continues in his tradition, we are contacting you directly in an effort to resolve this in an informal and amicable manner. We request that you voluntarily remove the game from all websites where it is made available promptly. If you do so we will not seek any monetary compensation for your past infringements.

We look forward to receiving your response within the next ten business days. If we do not hear from you, we will be forced to turn this matter over to our outside lawyers for appropriate action.

This is not a complete recitation of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter, nor is it a waiver of any right or remedy of The Jim Henson Company, all of which are expressly reserved.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Jill Peterson


The letter was slightly more polite than most legal threats, and actually acknowledged that the game was elaborate and took a bit of work. Thanks to this gentle ego stroking, I made some cosmetic changes to the game. I switched the colors around, and put the bear in an army helmet. The original was 100% legal parody, but I wasn't in the mood to argue it at the time. I haven't had any problems since, and I hope it stays that way.