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Barney Surrenders To the EFF 125

Posted by kdawson
from the big-purple-capitulation dept.
davidwr writes, "Earlier this year, EFF sued the Barney the Dinosaur people for harassing a Barney parody web site. Well, Barney finally surrendered, err I mean, learned to share. For more, read the case history at the EFF site."
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Barney Surrenders To the EFF

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  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:24PM (#17027158) Journal
    oh, and if you have tried to trademark 'Good Thing' don't worry, I won't sue....

    Its good to see the EFF winning anytime... everyone should support them
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:24PM (#17027164) Homepage Journal
    The EFF actually won a case? What, did they get new lawyers or something?

    • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:29PM (#17027212) Homepage
      They're like the Imperial Stormtroopers of litigation.
    • by Neoncow (802085) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:46PM (#17027410) Journal
      Well, they were up against Barney the Dinosaur.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by marcello_dl (667940)
      Yeah that sounded unlikely... well, unless Barney is French.
    • Re:Hang on, wait.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by ntk (974) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:12PM (#17028144) Homepage
      Sigh. Is that old "Bonhomie Snoutintroff [theregister.co.uk]" canard still kicking around? A story that gave as its warped reasoning for the idea that "EFF always loses" two cases that EFF didn't actually conduct (Eldred v. Ashcroft and Gilmore v. Gonzales), and one that we actually won: ("They defended two amateur online journos against Apple's ham-fisted effort to silence criticism, and got beat down severely: another bad precedent." - odd, that's not quite what the Appeals Court decided when the California state appeals court upheld our defence, and held that our clients were protected by California's reporter's shield law and the constitutional privilege against disclosure of confidential sources: http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/ [eff.org] ).

      And as to the Snoutintroff claim we somehow "persuaded" Ed Felten to withdraw from a talk as a media stunt, it's worth reading what Felten himself had to say [freedom-to-tinker.com] about that period. Chilled speech, baseless legal threats, people losing jobs because they stand up for their right to reveal security flaws. That's what EFF fights.

      It's worth spending time reading EFF's actual track record - either from our list of victories [eff.org], or from the Wikipedia list [wikipedia.org].

      (Or hell, just read our press releases from the last week [eff.org] where we were filing an amicus brief to defend constitutional protection for stored email, began a case to investigate and correct some 18,000 missing votes in an apparent e-voting mess-up in a Florida seat that was won by less than 400 votes, and filing an FOIA request to uncover the details of EU passenger records being handed over to the US government. And that's what we did on a Thanksgiving week - with a staff of around 30, and a budget that's a fiftieth of the size of the ACLU, and a twentieth of what the MPAA spend on Washington lobbying alone. And consider becoming a member [eff.org] if you're impressed - you have no idea how much every extra membership helps, nor how much there is left to do.)
      • It's things like this that keep me contributing to the EFF. Thank you for your efforts.
      • by Icculus (33027)
        hey, stop posting on slashdot and write another newsletter dammit!
    • Hopefully this will get their spirits up for battles against bigger Dino [riaa.com] saurs [mpaa.org].
  • by JoshJ (1009085) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:24PM (#17027166) Journal
    Someone get these lawyers on the RIAA's case. The sooner we're rid of copyright abuses, the sooner we can put a sane system in place. Though the other way around may work better.
    Actually enforcing fair use is a good start.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cultrhetor (961872)
      What does enforcement of actual "fair use" have to do with enforcing piracy claims? The RIAA suits are a different ball of wax.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by JoshJ (1009085)
        Step 1: Recognize fair use Step 2: Recognize that the copyright laws (and patent laws, but that's another matter) as they exist today are ridiculous Step 3: REFORM!
  • Singalong (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:25PM (#17027168) Homepage Journal
    I love you, you love me,
    This is bestiality...
  • by foobsr (693224) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:30PM (#17027226) Homepage Journal
    "... Conditioned upon the parties' compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the parties, and their respective officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, attorneys, successors and assigns, hereby release each other from any and all claims, demands, damages, losses, liabilities, rights or causes of action, including but not limited to any claim for attorneys fees, arising out of or relating to the Action and/or the allegations asserted therein. ..."

    Reading this please make your own conclusions about the inner structure of the underlying legal system (IMAGINE YOU WOULD STRUCTURE CODE THE SAME WAY!).

    cc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      The code might not look this way, but the EULA sure does.
    • by Carnildo (712617) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @09:12PM (#17027644) Homepage Journal
      "... Conditioned upon the parties' compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the parties, and their respective officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, attorneys, successors and assigns, hereby release each other from any and all claims, demands, damages, losses, liabilities, rights or causes of action, including but not limited to any claim for attorneys fees, arising out of or relating to the Action and/or the allegations asserted therein. ..."

      Reading this please make your own conclusions about the inner structure of the underlying legal system (IMAGINE YOU WOULD STRUCTURE CODE THE SAME WAY!).


      Reading this sort of legalese is actually quite simple: whenever you see an agglomeration of terms like that, read the first one, and mentally replace the rest of them with "or similar". It's actually quite similar to programming, since you need to explicity enumerate the cases. Neither computers nor lawyers are very good with fuzziness.

      The code equivalent would be

      if(is_party($complainant) || is_party_director($complainant) || is_party_agent($complainant) || is_party_servant($complainant) || is_party_employee($complainant) || is_party_parent($complainant)....)

      Yes, you need to include all the clauses in order for the if() statement to work properly.
      • by nosredna (672587) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @09:45PM (#17027904)
        To be more accurate, lawyers are very good with fuzziness. That's why you never ever ever ever want to leave them any to exploit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zurmikopa (460568)
        So perhaps all legalese needs to be comprehendable is proper indenting (and maybe some syntax highlighting).
      • by i_ate_god (899684)

        if(is_party($complainant) || is_party_director($complainant) || is_party_agent($complainant) || is_party_servant($complainant) || is_party_employee($complainant) || is_party_parent($complainant)....)

        I think I would rather do this:

        // Make this a nice neat config file and include it obviously
        @parties = (respectiveOfficers,directors,agents,servants,empl oyees,parents,subsidiaries,affiliatedCompanies,att orneys,successors,assigns);
        if (in_array(@parties, $complainant))
        {
        die('released each other from

        • hump notation? in perl?

          DIE!!!!
          • by i_ate_god (899684)
            I already put a disclaimer up about that, what more do you want from me! :(
            • I think perhaps the following should proceed every code posting by users here:

              "... Conditioned upon the parties' compliance with the terms and conditions of this Comment, the parties, and their respective officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, attorneys, successors and assigns, hereby release each other from any and all claims, demands, damages, losses, liabilities, rights or causes of action, including but not limited to any claim for attorneys fees,
      • by foobsr (693224)
        Neither computers nor lawyers are very good with fuzziness.

        Computers may be more flexible [bugwriter.net].

        CC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pig Hogger (10379)

      "... Conditioned upon the parties' compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the parties, and their respective officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, attorneys, successors and assigns, hereby release each other from any and all claims, demands, damages, losses, liabilities, rights or causes of action, including but not limited to any claim for attorneys fees, arising out of or relating to the Action and/or the allegations asserted t

      • by foobsr (693224)

        Compliance(Terms_Conditions(Agreement));
        Conditio n(Parties || '/.*/g');
        Release('/.*/g' || claims('/.*/g'))

        This would read more like: "Both parties agree to withhold from any further action regarding the case in focus.". That is, you have predefined classes (lists, maybe objects, whatever) that you do not care to reiterate (what lawyers, as the example shows, obviously need to do, which fosters the implication that the system is highly inefficient).

        Perhaps lawyers should be run through some formal

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by macemoneta (154740)
        Oh, that's easy:

        Compliance(Terms_Conditions(Agreement));
        Condition(Parties || '/.*/g');
        Release('/.*/g' || claims('/.*/g'));

        Well why didn't they just say that? Sheesh, lawyers make everything so complicated. If laws were written this way, you could replace the judicial system with a compiler. Ah.

    • ... because it's very thorough, covers all the bases for a way around exclutions. if only more coders were so diligent.

      take a look at a security update pach some time, in many cases the diff shows 5 lines of original code expanding to 10-15 lines of "secure" code, just to prevent a single type of exploit. that legalese manages to cover 11 types of expoits, if you will, in one single sentance. nice, i say.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It was his lawyers that surrendered, those damn slackers.. Barney will be out kicking ass and giving hugs in no time.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:34PM (#17027270)

    I quote the famous barney addage:



    I love you,
    You love me,
    We're a happy family,
    with a great big hug,
    and a kiss from me to you,
    Won't you say you love me TOO!

    I love you,
    You love me,
    We're best friends like friends should be,
    With a great big hug,
    And a kiss from me to you,
    Won't you say you love me too


    I guess Barney is one of those Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of guys with a split personality. While he sings sweet happy songs to young children who absolutely adore him, he has a darkside he shows to those who don't like him. When someone doesn't respect the lines "We're best friends like friends should be", and "Won't you say you love me TOO", the big purple dinosaur sends them the not-so cuddly wrath of the purple-D's lawyer team.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by zip_000 (951794)
      I prefer SmootchY songs:
      "My Stepdad's Not Mean (He's Just Adjusting.)"
      KIDS:
      'Stepdads are people too/ They
      have bad days, like we all do/
      Be patient and help them through/
      Stepdads are people too...'

      SMOOCHY:
      (singing) ... 'So three cheers for the man
      that I proudly call Stan... He's
      not quite a dad or a brother...
      Yes, he gets cross, but still he's
      the boss... And besides he takes
      care of my mother!'

      SMOOCHY:
      Remember, kids. First
      impressions, good or bad, are not
      always what they seem. Just like
      a new puppy, new dads nee
    • i never knew barney was "The Merch."

    • by irenaeous (898337)

      I hate you
      You hate me
      Let's hang Barney from a tree
      With a stab in the back
      And a bullet to the head
      Aren't you glad that Barney's dead?

  • Confused? (Score:3, Funny)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:35PM (#17027284)
    I thought Barney was a parody? Isn't a parody website redudant?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:38PM (#17027322)
    http://www.textfiles.com/art/barney.txt [textfiles.com] ...Subliminal Barney has spoken. (anyone remember this classic?)
    • http://www.textfiles.com/art/barney.txt ...Subliminal Barney has spoken. (anyone remember this classic?)

      I couldn't get that to compile with 'use strict'. Any suggestions?
       
      :-)
  • by autophile (640621) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:39PM (#17027338)
    While the Big Bad Barney has agreed not to pursue Frankel any longer, the settlement document on the EFF website does not claim that Barney will not try to harass anyone else. Apparently Barney has to pay Frankel $5,000, which is a drop in the bucket. Barney will probably accept the risk of going after other, more likely to be intimidated, sites.

    --Rob

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, going after a "likely to be intimidated" site is exactly what Lyons was doing. The EFF stepped in to help "the little guy". Unless the EFF agreed not to involve themselves in future litigation, Lyons will always have to face the risk that the EFF will sue.
      • by darkonc (47285)
        The EFF is only representing Frankel in the suit. If Barney tries to stomp on another web site, the EFF should have no problem representing any future harassee as well.
        Unless the EFF agreed not to involve themselves in future litigation, Lyons will always have to face the risk that the EFF will sue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by multisync (218450)

      Barney will probably accept the risk of going after other, more likely to be intimidated, sites.

      From the EFF's response [eff.org] to the Barney lawyers:

      Finally, we would like to remind you that New York State Code of Professional Responsibility DR 7-102 [1200.33] and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 provides for sanctions for litigation undertaken without support in existing law or sufficient evidentiary support.

      IANAL, but if the law firm sending me a C&D was from New York, I would find the above very interest

    • by geckoFeet (139137) <gecko@dustyfeet.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:53PM (#17028944)
      The way EFF explained it to me (I'm Frankel or, as EFF and my mother call me, Dr. Frankel. Also my old school when they're asking for money), if Lyons (the Barney company) keeps sending around nastygrams, that will establish a pattern that courts will probably look on very unfavorably. And the $5000 may be a drop in the bucket to them (it goes to EFF, incidentally), but the negative publicity was priceless. EFF would love to represent any future recipients of Barney's nastygrams.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:43PM (#17027382) Journal

    ...because this case had no basis.

    Even though I really hate Britney Spears, I must admit that before she got pregnant, she actually looked kind of hot. However, after she got pregnant, she gradually turned into a monstrosity (or was it years of lyrical and systematic infection of our American youth finally striking back...?). If the value premise of the case were true, that meant that if I used Photoshop to exaggerate her hideous appearance to blatant unrealistic proportions, then posted it back on my MySpace, I have used the image of Britney Spears illegally under copyright law and will be subjected to all sorts of governmental discipline. Does this make any sense?

    I'm glad that the court realized the flawed logic of this case. It would have been a shame if that person had to pay some consequence solely for using merely the image of a character humorously (or not). I knew the dinosaur had some evil in it...

    • Britney Lost (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed on Britney. I don't even recognize her face any more. Just look at these [taxidrivermovie.com]. Looks nothing like her in the second pic.

      • by JoshJ (1009085)
        BARF!
        (Warning: the above link contains NSFW images.)
      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Agreed on Britney. I don't even recognize her face any more. Just look at these. Looks nothing like her in the second pic.
        Face? Oh, sorry, I was distracted there.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)
      The wheels on the bus go:

      http://thesuperficial.com/2006/11/britney_spears_b oobs_are_huge.html [thesuperficial.com]

      but then they come right back round(Not at all safe for work, in any way):

      (again NSFW!)

      http://thesuperficial.com/2006/11/britney_spears_r eally_wants_yo.html [thesuperficial.com]

      Not that she looks all that fantastic in the first set; the second set is just hilarious though.
    • by l0cust (992700)
      Even though I totally hate the idea of spilling anything hot over me, the idea of Natalie Portman pouring hot grits in my pants seemed kind of hot. However, after scalding myself with engine oil once, and seeing a picture of her with one hand inside the jeans and scratching her ass, the fantasy has turned into a nightmare.

      If the value premise of the case were true, that meant that if I used Photoshop to put a bowl of hot grits in her hands and blatantly put my back in place of her, then linked to it on s
  • OMG (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlahSnarto (45250) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:52PM (#17027476)
    You know ive had one of the shittiest days
    in my life, this made me laugh out loud..

    i dont know why...

    but thanks ;)

  • I hate you, you hate me, we all hate tele-tubbies.. do I owe the that old man some money now?
  • by WilliamSChips (793741) <full,infinity&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @09:14PM (#17027656) Journal
    who thought of the policeman from Half-Life 2 before reading the summary?
    • by popeye44 (929152)
      Well if it helps.. I thought of Barney from the first Half Life.. because everyone called em that but I don't think they had a name hehe.
      • I've got you both beat. My first mental image was of Barney Fife furiously trying to load his single bullet into his revolver, dropping it, then throwing his hands into the air in front of a bunch of suit-clad agent types.

        Original Barney FTW.

    • "The EFF? Is that the group that took over the Combine or somethi... oh, wait, it's just the nice people with the inept lawyers."
  • and have a big sloppy hug from Me to You!
  • IANAL. This is a case of fair use, whereas most RIAA cases are for copyright infringement. In the Barney case the purple lawyers wanted to make it appear as if this guy was making illegal reproductions of copyrighted work, which he was not.

    "Piracy" copyright infringement means that you are unlawfully stepping over somebody's exclusive "right to copy", that is, to produce duplicates of a work. When the RIAA sues (whether with merit or not) they claim that you are illegally making a copy of something for wh

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Making fun of a silly children's character is an important right we wouldn't want to lose. I'm glad they didn't spend their time and money on less important issues.
    • by hey! (33014)

      Making fun of a silly children's character is an important right we wouldn't want to lose.


      Which is a statement more true than you intend it to be. Otherwise, it would follow that we want some branch of government deciding what topics are the proper objects of satire.
  • by oskay (932940) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:05PM (#17028078) Homepage
    Five years ago I had a website [oskay.net] with a collection of jokes collected from mid-1990s humor mailing lists. Naturally, there was a whole page of Barney jokes. The same stupid ones that you've seen a million times. You've seen all the song parodies (here, if nowhere else), and then there was the giant ASCII-art-Barney-being-killed-by-something. I think that it might have been a face hugger.
    At the time, the web site (for stupid, complicated reasons) was registered in my father's name. So, imagine my old man's surprise when one day HE gets a letter from Barney's lawyer threatening (purple) fire and brimstone. Without much of a good alternative, we caved. I was really, really mad, and I suppose that I still am. To this day, it's the only legal 'trouble' that any of my web sites have stirred up, which is actually somewhat surprising.

    Now that someone has finally stood up to the purple bully, can I finally dig into my old backups and put up the page of Barney jokes again? Whether or not Barney jokes are still relevant at the end of 2006, I suppose that I should, merely on principle.

  • ...you love me, we're best friends like friends should be. Or apparently NOT!

    Dang, Barney, follow some of your own lessons. If my 18-month-old didn't love that purple freak so much, I'd be putting up a boycott. But as any parent of an 18-month-old will agree, anything that makes them happy is worth it.

    • by rossz (67331)
      Oh come on. Tell the whole truth. Anything that keeps your kid from crying long enough for you to take a nap is f*ing miracle! :)

  • OHMYGOD. (Score:5, Funny)

    by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:03PM (#17028560) Journal


    I truly thought I would never live to see the day,

    I mean actually witness,

    SOMEBODY pulling FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS OUT OF A DINOSAUR'S ASS!

    I can die in peace now.

  • The site they're talking about [dustyfeet.com] seems pretty harmless (and even a little immature), but I guess the case isn't about one particular site as it is about setting a precedent. Still, I think it's kind of silly that a bunch of high-powered lawyers spent so much time arguing about a Barney parody page.

    I'm glad the EFF won, and I'm glad the EFF exists, but there have to be more important problems to spend time and money on than this one - like human rights [amnesty.org] and hunger [oxfam.org], to name a few. Nothing against the EFF... it'
  • One thing I note from watching Barney is that it relies on child actors to play and sing along with Barney. It's so cynical. The kids aren't in awe of Barney, they're not meeting their hero, they're acting the part. It is a total cynical fraud. Those little brats queued up with dozens of brats and got the gig through a talent agency.

    By contrast when you see the kids run into Miss Hooley's school in Ballamory (for example), you know those kids really think they're meeting Miss Hooley for real. Or Sesame St

    • I hate it to break it to you but they were also acting. Even the people you see on the Geico commercials that claim not to be professional actors are really actors. It's all a lie.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        Wrong, the kids in Ballamory are not actors - they're regular pre-school kids. As I said, I know there were a couple of child actors in Sesame Street but there were also many who weren't.
  • Barney is the Anti-Christ! I have this information from a highly reliable source... A security guard in front of a Barney display in the Las Vegas Hilton circa 1989. We saw the Barney display, said "No, not Barney!" and made the sign of the cross. The security guard calls us over and, after looking around to ensure no one else could hear whispered this information to us. Needless to say, we were ROFLOAO (rolling on the floor laughing our a__es off).

  • They better watch their ass! Barney's one mean bastard when you piss 'em off.

    Ean St Eian
  • How about everyone take a minute to go become a member of the EFF? I just paid the 25 bucks. I would imagine a couple hundred slashdotters paying 15-25 bucks each (15 for a student) would help with their other projects as well. You will also get a cool sticker (I did). It's tax-deductible!

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