Disney Sues Clowns over Costumes

Disney sure knows how to put the SUIT in lawsuit. Tigger and Eyore suits that is. Apparently an infringement on their copyright is no laughing matter, and if you buy knock off costumes and run a clown entertainment business with them, you are going to get the ghost of Walt haunting you in your sleep – or a lawyer.

This couple got the latter.

Local6News says:

The couple paid more than $500 for costumes on eBay from a company in Peru and advertised the characters online.

“We bought two characters that to me is an orange tiger and a blue donkey,” Marisol Perez-Chaveco said.

About a week later, Disney wrote the couple a letter, claiming the costumes were unauthorized reproductions of Tigger and Eeyore. In the letter, Disney made seven demands, and the couple complied, Local 6 News reported

First let me say that I fully support companies that defend their copyright. They have to. Even the little guys. If they send a clear message that no one is safe from their legal team, that gives value to their brand. They SHOULD go after people like this.

So how is it that they complied with their terms and still face a million dollar lawsuit? They didnt “really” comply with all the demands.

The demands were simple. Take down ANY reference to our characters on all promotional materials and just to make sure you are not still doing this on the side, they asked that the costumes be sent to Disney so they can destoy them.

Instead the couple contacted the suit seller and arranged a refund.

I honestly had a little pity when I heard the big bad mouse was ruining their livelyhood, but frankly this couple couldn’t be stupid enough to think that this purchase was “just an orange tiger and a blue donkey” when they bought the costumes.

And when Disney’s lawyers called them out on this, they should have toed the line and thanked their lucky stars that it was just a list of demands.

But they were ignorant in buying the non licensed suits, and further ignorant in not complying with the demands. What could have been a $500 loss, turned into bankruptcy.

Don’t mess with the House of Mouse.

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23 thoughts on “Disney Sues Clowns over Costumes

  1. what does your car have to do with kids parties??? Trust me… I don’t want your car… :-)

    Someone buys a knockoff hand bag… are they getting sued by Louis Vuitton?? Seriously?? People buy & sell knockoff handbags at parties… no one gets sued… they don’t sell them as official handbags.

    When these people do parties, they don’t say that it’s “tigger” or “pooh”… they call them the orange tiger and the yellow bear (I guess)… as I said, they are not exact replicas just as the handbags aren’t … and they are not marketing them as such…

    What about the mpg players that look like Ipods… Apple didn’t sue them for making something that looks like an ipod… it’s NOT an Ipod…

    I think I am going to hire a character for my sons next party, now that I think about it. Will I be sued as well?? Trying to trick kids at his party into thinking that the real Mickey Mouse came to the party… am I going to be sued for not putting TM at the end of his name??

    1. Your squirming rationalizations are just falling apart with your repetition and exaggeration. Especially when you reply so carelessly illustrating you didn’t even read my post.

      YES, MP3 players that look exactly like iPods ARE ripoffs, and if sold in the US are subject to the same laws that got these clowns sued. You fail.

      Not ONE of those kids is going to say “hey look its an orange tiger” they all scream with glee and shout TIGGER! in unison. Don’t kid yourself.

      Its infringing on their copyright and no matter what half assed ignorant excuse they gave to the local news crews, they KNEW they were buying a Tigger costume. BECAUSE it was a Tigger costume.

      Learn your laws Regina. Even this close of a similarity is an infringement on copyright and trademarks no matter what excuse you use to play dumb about it.

  2. Is no one thinking about the kids here? So many children are thrilled when a character that looks similar to the one on their favorite TV show actually attends their birthday party and plays games with them. The characters don’t look exactly like the ones at the theme parks… and no offense, I have 3 kids & it would cost about 8000 dollars to vacation at Disney for a week.

    We’re in a recession people, and this is just another way for corporate America to stay afloat… bankrupt the little people who tried to make kids happy, earn an honest living without having to sell drugs on the corner. They wanted their money back from the person who sold it to them. They didn’t buy “Tigger”… they bought and “Orange Tiger” They should be going after the companies who make the costumes.

    1. Well Regina, Copyright law has NOTHING to do with you choosing to save money to hire a ripoff artist to deliberately bought an “Orange Tiger” because it looks a lot like Tigger. No one is that dumb to think that isn’t precisely why they bought it.

      And they can’t go after the manufacturers because they live in a country where the Copyright laws cannot touch them. But they sure able to touch someone professionally benefiting from the familiarity of their trademarked characters.

      You seem to think its justifiable because we are in a recession. So if I steal your car because I don’t want to wear mine out, then its ok? After all, its a recession! All I am doing is trying to save some money.

      Ignorant.

  3. Kim, unfortunately ignorance is not a valid legal defense in any democratic country. And clearly if they did not know that you cannot use the properties then why make the effort to call them “orange tiger and blue donkey”. They were fully aware that these were Disney knockoffs and fully aware of the copyright laws. Their efforts to defend themselves in this manner make that evident.

    Also, Disney would have gone after the costume makers if those costumes were made in the US. Copyright laws don’t stop someone in Peru from making the costume, and doesn’t stop them from selling it to people in the US.

    But I am sure that Disney would go after Ebay to have the auctions taken down. In that they have full right to do.

  4. I understand what Disney is doing I just think they are doing it to the wrong people. The average person doesn’t know the extent of the copyright laws. This couple did pay for their costumes they just didn’t pay the right ppl. They probably didn’t realize that they could not use them for personal financial gain since they owned them. You would have to be pretty stupid to think they were anything other than Disney characters though. Anyway, Disney needs to get to the root of the problem, the company that made the costumes, not this couple that was trying to start a business and get off of welfare. (and you do have to give them credit for that) Although, I do wonder where they got the $500 if they are on welfare. There surely is a way to get that company…..I would hope.

  5. disney isnt ran by selfish bastards that just sue people. any company with brains would have done this. if they didnt crack down on this everyone else would do it. this doesnt make disney evil and this doesnt make them suck, it makes them better because theyre respecting the loyal costumers that actually pay for the merchandise

    the whole piracy shit on limewire is wrong no matter how small people think it is. almost everyone does it- so its big. same with how family guy wanted all the youtube videos taken down if they had theyr show on it. and this goes on and on to bootleging and all that crap

    its stealing and its wrong no matter at what degree it is. you stole a car/ you stole a marble- it doesnt make a difference its still wrong and people dont fucking get it

  6. How is it rediculous?

    At what point do you decide that their financial benefit directly from using a Disney property is not worth protecting?

    If they let all the little guys get away with it, then the little guy gets bigger, then more people do it because word gets out that Disney doesnt go after the little guy who abuses their copyrights.

    They MUST go after people who are financially benefitting from their copyrights. You would if it was your property.

  7. The money isnt really relevant. They wont get millions out of these welfare refugees trying to keep their heads above water. The dollar value was part of the threat to show they mean business.

    The copyright is Disney’s. They license the rights to the story, but the likeness is theirs. The payout to the rights of the story has nothing to do with the product Disney created.

    If the couple were being sued for using the name and content of Slesinger’s story, then Slesinger would have to pursue. However they are using the likeness and imagery of the specific products created by Disney. You will notice that the clown couple were quick to simply call the costumes a “orange tiger” which means they were not making use of the story, but the imagery is undeniable. And that is what Disney is suing for.

    And believe me, they are not attempting to profit from this lawsuit, they are making the effort to maintain the value of their own works.

  8. So what happens to the money if Disney successfully sues? Disney doesn’t actually own the copyright, but merely licenses certain rights. Does Stephen Slesinger, Inc. get 2% of the gross of the payout?

  9. Hot Rod…

    I said at first glane this appears to be corporate America running amok, but as SHan said above…YOU’d have to be an idiot to know that these jerkoffs (Kool Klowns) were not trading on the Disney likenesses.

    At first I thought they were just buying the costumes to dress up…

  10. Yeah, if you’re a grown man, without kids, and work as a builder I might buy you not recognizing 2 popular kids characters.

    But when you have 2 toddlers, live in the home-state of Disney, and work in the childrens party business… you’re gonna know who those 2 characters are.

    Also, I notice the site running this story shows the comparison between Tigger and “Orange Tiger”, because it’s most likely to pass as ‘just an orange tiger’. But the Eyore suit clearly has big black stitch design on his face, to look not just like a generic donkey… but a blue, stuffed toy donkey… Eyore. Even if they didn’t know it was a rip off, it clearly is intended to be those characters.

  11. Even in the slight “they live under a rock” chance that they didn’t know that the orange tiger and blue donkey were Disney characters they couldnt possibly have run parties without ONE kid or parent saying “hey thats just Tigger”

    And once Disney called their bluff they still had to play stupid without admitting they already knew it or Disney would have a solid case. As it is they have their pretend deniability, so Disney just made demands. Which they still didn’t comply with.

  12. Honestly, I wouldn’t be amazed if they -didn’t- recognize the characters. Not everyone has watched Winnie the Pooh, and it’s not like Disney has been leveraging the brand heavily in recent years. I probably wouldn’t recognize half of the popular cartoon characters these days.

  13. You think having terms change so that their single most iconic character would not suddenly become public domain makes them copyright thugs?

    They own it. They own the likeness of the characters and legitimately acquired the copyrights to adaptive works.

    I would like to find one example of hypocracy in their copyright pursuits.

  14. Disney bought off US legislators to increase copyright terms well beyond what is reasonable all so that Mickey wouldn’t move into the public domain. Then they forced those changes on other countries through WIPO.

    It is particularly galling since most of their stuff is derivative/unoriginal work. They are hypocritical copyright thugs and have been for a long time.

  15. Yeah, I think that’s completely fair on Disneys part. It’s a clear violation of their copyright. And that’s a bit rich to say that they thought they were just an “orange tiger” and a “blue donkey”. What kid begs his mom to get a guy in a generic blue donkey suit for his 6th birthday party?

    And yeah, sucks to lose $500, but they should have been more careful in the first place before buying it.

    I give my full support to Disney here.

  16. @Bobafett, they DID receieve gain from the use of the suits. They ran a clothing company.

    And its not about what they might do in the suit, the simply are benefiting from the familiarity found in the Disney characters these unlicensed suits clearly illustrated. They are receiving financial gain built up on the work Disney did.

  17. When I first read this post I thoughtUGH…Way to go corporate America.

    In legal terms, a lawsuit should always be brought on the parties that received a gain, not from the consumer! SO now we can be sued because we buy a fake Rolex? Or Fake Nikes?

    …then I investigated. These MORONS live in Florida, and think they can get away with throwing parties showing, “Tigger and Eeyore” attending to amuse the children and get away with it? Close Kool Klowns down! What if the drunken morons who are usually in the suits, pass out or get a DUI? THat could scar a kid for life. Imagine seeing Eeyore taking an Field Sobreity Test and failing miserably.

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