Oh, Those Wacky Tele...bubbys?
James Glave

2:00 p.m.  1.Sep.99.PDT
Tinky Winky worships the devil.

At least the purple Teletubby does in "Telebubby Fun Land," a parody Web site that features animations of the popular children's television characters drinking vodka, smoking, and sodomizing sheep.

But no one is laughing in the BBC Worldwide offices, where they formally requested Telebubby creator to take down his site.

After initially complying with last week's request and removing the site, Fulp restored it on Wednesday to his Web gallery of celebrity parodies.

He could not be reached for comment, but he told UK anti-censorship group Internet Freedom, "I believe this is all covered under fair use for parody."

The group condemned the BBC's actions in an open letter on Wednesday.

But the BBC said that there is nothing fair about Teletubbies being portrayed in adult situations.

"We consider it wholly inappropriate that a Web site of this nature should be on the Internet," BBC Worldwide Brand Protection Manager Susan Davey told Fulp in a letter obtained by Internet Freedom.

A BBC spokesman underscored that point.

"We take breaches of our intellectual property rights very seriously indeed, especially in relation to a much-loved brand aimed at preschool-age children," BBC Worldwide spokesman Simon Rahamim said.

"Our legal representatives will be looking [further] into this issue," Rahamim added.

That's hardy surprising, according to Internet Freedom founder Chris Ellison, who said that the BBC has aggressively protected the Teletubbies brand in the past.

Ellison cited a recent incident in which he said the BBC had successfully removed hand-drawn pictures of Teletubbies from the Web. The pictures were drawn by a four-year-old child, he said.

The corporation may find Fulp's site more of a challenge. A copyright infringement suit would need to be brought in a United States court, where the First Amendment offers protection for free speech.


A US web site set up to parody the children's TV programme The Teletubbies has gone back online after receiving legal threats from the BBC.

The site, which is specifically aimed at over-18s and features images of the Teletubbies in 'adult' animations, had been pulled from the Web after letters from BBC Worldwide suggesting that legal action would be taken.

However, the site's webmaster, Tom Fulp, has taken legal advice from lawyers and UK cyber rights group Internet Freedom, and believes he is within his rights to keep it running.

Internet Freedom spokesman, Chris Ellison, said: "We were contacted and asked for our opinion on the issue but Mr Fulp has decided himself to put the site back up.

"Under US law he is perfectly within his rights, as they have better protection for 'fair use of parody' under the First Amendment.

"The difficulty for the BBC is that if it wanted to pursue the matter it would have to do so in the US.

"We feel that they are exploiting the law to regulate the Internet. The Internet is all about copying and would not exist without copying and many copyright laws in the UK are out of date and do not apply."

A BBC spokesman said: "We take breaches of our intellectual property rights very seriously, especially in relation to a much loved brand aimed at pre-school children.

"Our legal representatives will be looking into the issue."

Go Back To Telebubby Fun Land!