This rather lengthy, interesting, and unorthodox copyright complaint, filed by a pro se author, accuses Dr. Seuss Enterprises of stealing the character “Daisy-Head Mayzie” from his children’s story, “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.”
Daisy-Head Mayzie is about a girl who suddenly sprouts a daisy from her head. Plaintiff’s story is about Lukus Loo, a boy(?) seemingly missing the top of his head, sometimes covering it with a crown, sometimes with three flowers. You be the judge after reading the Complaint (below). The Plaintiff’s itemized list of “plagiarized elements” begins on page 31 of the Complaint.
The Plaintiff has a long history with the Seuss estate, including several prior lawsuits, including most recently the Federal Court of Canada, which dismissed its suit on jurisdictional grounds in April 2017. The prior history, at least the Plaintiff’s side, is set forth in detail in the Complaint. The Dr. Seuss estate even had the Plaintiff arrested for extortion in 2003.
Quotes like these always make pro se lawsuits an interesting read:
In addition to the Complaint, the case also has some voluminous Exhibits which may merit further exploration by Dr. Seuss fans and historians.
Stay tuned for updates.
Steen v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises et al.
Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01765-SB
File Date: Friday, November 3, 2017
Plaintiff: Charles Augustus Steen III
Plaintiff Counsel: Pro Se
Defendants: Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., Penguin Random House
Causes: Copyright Infringement,
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Stacie F. Beckerman
Steve Yang said:
Kenan, nice of you to post this case on your blog. It would be nice to hear your professional opinion? Are you afraid that your opinion may differ from the verdict and that you’ll look bad? You didn’t bother acknowledging that this is the first time a major publisher of a major author, released 2 different versions of the same book? One with infringing elements removed? When has this ever happened before? Can you imagine if Capitol Records released a new Beatles White Album and said the previous one is not the real Beatles, and the new version is the correct original version?