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Dr. Seuss Sues Trekkies Over 'Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!'

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 22, 2016 3:00 PM

Two great things are better together, right? Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Green eggs and ham. Green eggs and ham and Captain Kirk.

Well, that last one may be going a bit far, at least according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises. The company is currently suing the creators of "Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!" a mash up between Dr. Seuss's works and the Star Trek universe that, according to its authors, was meant to combine "two of the most beloved creations in history in a joyous celebration" -- or, if you're Dr. Seuss Enterprises, to rip off their intellectual property through the "slavish copying" of protected works.

A Cat, a Hat, and a Team of Lawyers From DLA Piper

Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed their suit earlier this month in federal court in California, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The complaint argues that ComicMix LLC, the company behind "Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!" has engaged in copyright and trademark infringement and unfair trade practices.

A crowdsourced project, the book had raised nearly $30,000 on Kickstarter before the project was halted by Dr. Seuss Enterprises' IP claims. The book, which takes its inspiration from both Seuss's children's books and the classic sci-fi show Star Trek, mixes Trekkie characters with Seussian rhymes and drawings.

"Congratulations! You just can't be beat," the Kickstarter began. "You've earned center chair of the best in the fleet!"

Other Seuss-sounding rhymes, according to the ABA Journal, include:

  • "You can get out of trouble, any that's knotty, because in a pinch you'll be beamed out by Scotty."
  • "Weird things will happen, and they usually do, to starship explorers and their marvelous crew."

Bigger Than the Butter Battle

The book's creators have a fair case for fair use -- that their work is parodying both the Dr. Seuss and Star Trek canons -- but they weren't unaware of the possibility of a lawsuit. In the "risks and challenges" section of their Kickstarter page, the complaint says, the creators stated:

"While we firmly believe that our parody, created with love and affection, fully falls within the boundary of fair use, there may be some people who believe that this might be in violation of their intellectual property rights. And we may have to spend time and money proving it to people in black robes. And we may even lose that."

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