(This article was republished with permission by ABA Business Law Today on 6/2/2020, available here.)
Certain literary or graphic characters may, in some cases, enjoy copyright protection. Think James Bond – or Batman and even his Batmobile. Recently, the Ninth Circuit was called upon to determine whether the Moodsters, “anthropomorphized characters representing human emotions,” are subject to the same copyright protection as Batman. Sadly, the Ninth Circuit concluded they do not.
The Moodsters were created by an expert on children’s emotional intelligence and development, Denise Daniels. She created the Moodsters to “help children cope with strong emotions like loss and trauma.” In 2005, Ms. Daniels and her team released an initial product called The Moodsters Bible. The Moodsters Bible told the story of five characters who were “color-coded anthropomorphic emotions” that represented a different emotion: pink–love, yellow-happiness, blue-sadness, red-anger and green-fear. Two years later, Ms. Daniels and her team released a 30-minute television pilot featuring the Moodsters called, “The Amoodsment Mixup.” In 2015, Ms. Daniels and her team had developed a line of toys and books featuring the Moodsters that were sold at Target and other retailers.
Continue Reading Inside Out: The Ninth Circuit Holds The Moodsters are No Batman