Lady Gaga has successfully stopped Lady Goo Goo from appearing in YouTube videos and on iTunes, at least temporarily.
Lady Goo Goo is one of the animated “moshlings” that appear on a popular UK-based social networking and gaming site for children. The “Moshi Monsters” can be adopted and cared for by website visitors; another popular character is Dustbin Beaver based on Justin Bieber.
While Lady Gaga didn’t seem to have an issue with the character based on her image in general, once Lady Goo Goo started making her way into music and possibly even onto iTunes, Lady Gaga took legal action.
Last week, the High Court in London granted Lady Gaga’s request for a temporary injunction preventing online gaming company Mind Candy from “promoting, advertising, selling, distributing or otherwise making available to the public The Moshi Dance or any musical work or video which purports to be performed by a character by the name of Lady Goo Goo, or which otherwise uses the name Lady Goo Goo or any variant thereon.”
The offending video/song:
UK law is notably different from US law regarding parodies; that is, in America, parodies are a generally accepted “fair use” of a copyright. “Weird Al” Yankovic, for example, has built an entire career around parodying famous songs; Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” became Yankovic’s “Eat It,” Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” became “Amish Paradise,” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” became “Like a Surgeon,” to name a few. Lady Gaga even gave her stamp of approval on Yankovic’s “Perform This Way” based on her “Born This Way.”
The UK, however, currently disfavors parodies—although it is looking toward an overhaul of its system based on recommendations of Professor Ian Hargreaves. Accordingly, Lady Goo Goo’s songs may soon be legally permissible in the UK as well.
Mind Candy’s CEO Michael Acton Smith told the Guardian that the decision was a “huge disappointment” and that “[i]t’s pretty obvious that kids will be able to tell the difference between the two characters.” He also said, “The shame is that millions of kids fell in love with Lady Goo Goo’s debut single on YouTube and now won’t be able to enjoy her musical exploits. It was all done in the name of fun and we would have thought that Lady Gaga could have seen the humour behind this parody.”
Faithful LegalZoom readers may recall Lady Gaga’s previous legal battle over Baby Gaga breast milk ice cream—which was also being sold in the UK, although her lawyers have been quite busy on American soil as well with lawsuits over Japan earthquake charity bracelets, a trademark infringement case against Excite Worldwide, and a musician’s copyright case against her, among others.
Any guesses on what that next Lady Gaga-related lawsuit might be?