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Wimpy Kid author sues Antarctic Press over Diary of a Zombie Kid

Jeff Kinney, the author behind the $500 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, has sued Antarctic Press, accusing the comic publisher of violating trademark laws with its Diary of a Zombie Kid series.

TheWrap reports the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston by Wimpy Kid Inc., accuses the San Antonio-based publisher of using a title and cover design “confusingly similar” to those of the Wimpy Kid books in an obvious attempt “to confuse the public into believing that defendant’s books are additions to such series.” Read the lawsuit here.

Created by Fred Perry and David Hutchison, the August-debuting Diary of a Zombie Kid follows Bill Dookes, a fifth-grader whose mother volunteers for medical research only to bring home a mysterious zombie virus that leaves her son with “skin problems and body chemistry changes that make puberty look like a walk in the park” — not to mention a growing appetite for brains. A sequel, Diary of a Zombie Kid: Rotten Rules — an apparent nod to Kinney’s second book Rodrick Rules — is set for release in January.

Kinney’s six-book Wimpy Kid series, presented as the journal of middle-school student Greg Heffley, has sold more than 52 million copies in North America alone since its 2007 debut and spawned two movies and numerous merchandising tie-ins, including clothes, toys and games.

The complaint accuses Antarctic of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, false designation of origin, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution and deceptive trade practices, and asks the court to permanently enjoin the publisher from further infringement. Wimpy Kid Inc. also seeks triple damages, in addition to attorney’s fees and Antarctic’s profits from Diary of a Zombie Kid.

Antarctic Press Publisher Joe Dunn declined comment to the Boston Herald, saying, “Obviously, I would love to talk about it and give my side of it. However I’ve been advised not to say anything.” His attorney said the publisher will be answering the complaint “promptly.”

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20 Comments

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/diary-of-a-stinky-dead-kid-david-gerrold/1102792307?ean=9781597071642&itm=1&usri=9781597071642

Parody. Satire. So that nulls any copyright complaint.

Trademark, that’s a bit more difficult. Antarctic should probably change the cover.

The copyright claim strikes me as a “kitchen sink” count, thrown in for good measure. It’s pretty smart to pursue action on trademark and deceptive trade practices grounds, though.

Yeah, there’s no case here. Parody is protected, including visual parody. Posters and book covers are always imitated in parody.

There’s no trademark infringement either, because attempted parody aside, it fails the sight, sound, meaning test to be infringement. The appearance, presentation and font have been changed (of the title specifically – that’s the only thing that’s a part of the trademark) and the wording is different.

To use an analogy, Coca Cola is an established brand. Another company comes along and names their product Pepsi Cola using a different font and design to their trademark. Is there infringement? No.

Yeah, parody.

And this guy Kinney made a mint off a piss-poor idea.
So suck it up and move on.

Take it as a compliment even.
What a dick.

Is Zombie Kid a page-for-page copy of Wimpy Kid but with a zombie character? There may be a case there. I know that Antarctic solicited a sequel “Rotten Rules” as opposed to “Rodrick Rules”. Given that Zombie Kid is their best selling book, I imagine that Antarctic would copy the entire Wimpy Kid series if they could. It’s also the FCBD book for next year.

“What a dick?”

Okay.

“Parody?”

Sure, but even “parody” has rules. I think that it’s likely that this case does have legs, given that this isn’t a small parody, but a full product, competing in the same marketplace. When SNL or Mad Magazine send up something, there’s no confusing the parody with the original. There’s a good chance that there’s a case for Antarctic attempting to eat off of Kinney’s plate here.

darryl

He has to show that this did financial harm to him and his Wimpy franchise….since it did not and it will not, he has no grounds for damages

We know Disney does the same thing……sue sue sue

Any works satirizing Disney out in the market? I don’t recall

Antarctic will likely prevail in this since parody and satire is protected. This is only a ploy on Kinney’s part to tie them up in court. If that’s the case he should be made to pay Antarctic’s legal fees.

Because if you’re confused by the cover then you’re blind or a moron.

Comics fans, always hypocritical.

If this were Marvel or DC who had done the “paradoy” the tone of the commets here would be “sue them for all their worth lol lol lol”, but because it’s a small company that did it it’s all “parody, what a dick for even trying to sue over this…”.

If Marvel or DC had done this, no one would be clamoring for a lawsuit because it REALLY wouldn’t be won. While I can see some confusion from this arising, I don’t think it’s intentional. This is a parody in my eyes, plainly put, and I think the lawsuit will either be settled or lost outright.

Marvel and DC parody each other all the time.

this is no different than Weird Al Yankovich. It’s a parody, protected in copyright law. It is similar to the original purely for the purposes of finding humor in the differences.

You would think that the lawyers also know what the parody laws are. Since I don’t think they ever sued Papercutz for their parody that was linked above there might be something different about Antarctic’s work that makes them believe they have a case.

You know I agree, if Mr. Kinney what’s to be a MAJOR D-Bag and he is, by targeting Ben and Fred and Dave and all the peeps I know at AP “Yes, another AP Forum member comes in defense of AP” Then here is the “REALLY” big question in regards to this lawsuit. Why isn’t Kitchen Sink, Mad, Cracked, involved in this lawsuit you should gather all your eggs in one basket and smash it with a large Copyright 5th Dimentional Hammer with your ego inflated face on it you prude. I decided to to take my kid’s copies and donate them to library because you proved yourself to be a huge ass about this. Merry Fucking christmas you twatwaffle.

lol, it’s funny that “Weird Al” has been doing stuff like this for 30+ years and people like this guy still don’t get parody and other people still think his last name is Yankovich…it’s Yankovic, no ‘h’

Wow, you think this man would be happy to see his work get so famous that someone did a parody of it.

I think that for years now Antarctic has been using parody as a sort of poor man’s license that gives them the legal cover to financially exploit the popularity of others and their work to make a buck. It’s totally in bad faith and they deserve to get some heat for it. And I’m saying that as a reader who enthusiastically stuck with the company for many years. They’ve eroded any good will I had for them two or three Sarah Palin comics ago.

I’m with Jay.

Screw that company. I mean, they try to make comics that are funny. WTF

Can someone please tell me where in the definition of comics it says “funny”? Comics are supposed to be gritty and serious and teeth-clenching, ultra-violence. Or talky-tallky showcases for wanna-be screen writers in the Woody, I mean, well, the um… yeah, the um. Kind of style like um, well, yeah, Woody Allen, well yeah, or that Mamet guy. Yeah, um. What were we talking about? Oh yes. brain-eaters, zombies. parodies. funny. Funny-haha.

Humor, it is a difficult concept

“Humor, it is a difficult concept”

Indeed! And you’ve demonstrated that very well along with your inability to read minds.

Look. I’m familiar with Antarctic’s output and I used to be a big fan of the company exactly because they made fun original comics. But so much of their output in recent years looks more like an abuse of the protections given by parody to, as Ayo put it, eat off of others’ plates. It seems desperate and stupid and lazy and none of those things are what I look for in my comics, humor or otherwise. I didn’t mean to be a jerk (it just sort of happens:) and given the other comments here calling Kinney a dick and d-bag my own comments seemed pretty tame.

You know what is more comparable to diary of a a zombie kid is Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid

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