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Dutch court declares Sanrio character a ripoff of 'Miffy'

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She may not be the main character or even a well-known character, but Cathy the rabbit, a character from Sanrio's Hello Kitty franchise, is now being thrust to the forefront of a copyright debate. According to Mercis BV, a copyright management firm, filed a lawsuit against Sanrio claiming they had violated the copyright of their client Dick Bruna, 83. Bruna created the apparently famous character Miffy (a.k.a. Nijntje) for his children's books.

A Dutch court has ruled that Cathy is an unauthorized imitation of Miffy and called for an immediate halt to the production, sale, and marketing of any Cathy goods in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Sanrio must pay 25,000 euros a day in damages if it doesn't comply. Mercis is satisfied with the ruling, stating that it plans to file a damages suit against Sanrio if they do not comply, which may equal a temporary injunction according to Japanese law.

I don't see why they ruled Cathy was a copy, though; I mean, they look totally different! Miffy is wearing red, while Cathy is wearing purple! Also, look at that bold black outline on Cathy! They're like different characters!

On a more serious note, I strongly doubt that Cathy was a ripoff. It fits in too well with the Hello Kitty art style and, let's be honest here, how many ways can you draw a cute white rabbit in that style? If I never heard of Miffy, I'd imagine it's possible that Japan never heard of Miffy either.

[via Japan Probe]


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Bob Muir
Bob MuirContributor   gamer profile

Bob has been hanging around ModernMethod for years and and somehow writes almost everywhere, including Destructoid and Flixist. He was once lit on fire, but it's not as cool as you'd think. more + disclosures


 



Filed under... #Hello Kitty #legal mumbo jumbo #News #Sanrio

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