18 March 2019Copyright

Puppet studio accuses Fall Out Boy of exploiting llamas

A puppet design studio has taken rock band  Fall Out Boy to court over its use of two llama puppets.

In a suit filed on Friday, March 15 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York,  Furry Puppet Studio accused the band of using two wearable, llama-like puppets beyond their agreed-upon usage.

The puppets were created for the band’s “ Young and Menace” music video, released in April 2017.

According to the claim, Furry Puppet Studio gave an implied, limited non-exclusive licence to the production company for the two puppets to be used in the video, but the scope of the licence didn’t permit the band to use the puppets beyond the video.

“Fall Out Boy was (and is) exploiting the llamas by infringingly reproducing and displaying the puppets as merchandise, an iPhone app, the face of the band, the face of the 80-concert Mania tour and album, in five additional music videos, and a new album called Llamania,” alleged the claim.

The puppets, named Frosty and Royal Tea, have become de facto members of the band, said Furry Puppet Studio.

While the studio said that scope of infringement was too large to fully relate in the complaint, it did state that the llama puppets went on tour with Fall Out Boy and performed on stage in more than 80 concerts.

The llama puppets also reportedly gave interviews to promote the Mania tour and had an entire album named and centered around their images, called “Llamania”.

“The llamas are on track to be viewed one billion times, if they have not already passed that number. One GIF of one of the llamas was the fourth most popular GIF in 2017, with 197 million views,” said Furry Puppet Studio.

According to the studio, Fall Out Boy’s use of the puppets is “as plain a case of copyright infringement as there can be”. The puppets are copyright-protected sculptures under the registration numbers VAu001332963 and VAu001332960.

“In fact, the widespread uses of the llamas puppets ... are so far beyond the scope of the initial project that it would require omniscient clairvoyance from plaintiff to anticipate that defendants would, for example, make and sell derivative works as merchandise, use the puppets to brand the band …,” added Furry Puppet Studio.

Now, the studio is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages “to punish the defendants for their extreme and outrageous and malicious conduct, self-interest, and duplicitous behaviour”, and injunctive relief.

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