Cohen | Okediji | O'Rourke | Loren
Copyright in a Global Information Economy

Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald's Corp.
562 F.2d 1157 (9th Cir. 1977) - full text opinion

In the early 1970s, Sid and Marty Krofft created the first of many successful children's shows, H.R. Pufnstuf. After the just the first year, Pufnstuf was the top rated Saturday-morning TV show in the country. The franchise was so popular that it spawned a movie and a short-lived theme park.

The Krofft brothers were contacted by a variety of advertisers hoping to capitalize on this popularity. Among them was the defendant Needham, Harper & Steers, Inc., which was trying to secure an advertising account with McDonald's. It 's proposal was to create an ad campaign featuring McDonaldland, filled with characters adapted from the Krofft's popular show.

Needham promised to pay the Kroffts, but later informed the brothers that the ad campaign had been canceled and that no money was forthcoming. The Kroffts promptly sued when the McDonaldland commercials began to air.

In its opinion, the court notes that no ordinary person, let alone a child, would notice any difference between Pufnstuf's cummerbund and Mayor McCheese's diplomatic sash. To see if you can spot the difference, place your mouse cursor on the image above.

 

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