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May 10, 2007

LA Times on the Lessons of 'Farfurdom'


A Los Angeles Times editorial today has a litigious recommendation in the wake of the Hamas Mickey Mouse clone scandal:

At the risk of encouraging lawyers, here's a lawsuit we'd love to see: Hamas getting dragged through some international court by Disney's implacable army of attorneys. If ever there were a real claim that the company suffered dilution to the value of its intellectual property, this is it. Farfur's brief stardom creates an opportunity to revisit the legal territory blazed by the family of Alyssa Flatow (who sued Iran's government for sponsoring terrorism) or even Morris Dees, who bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan via the civil courts.

Disney, which declined to comment on this issue, is understandably reluctant to give extra attention to a news-of-the-weird story. But there's an important lesson to be learned here — that you don't get to participate in modernity halfway.

Sadly, the resolution of Farfurgate teaches precisely the opposite. Faced with a media brouhaha, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti suspended "Tomorrow's Pioneers," saying, "Any media outlet that breaks Palestinian broadcasting law will be penalized by the Information Ministry." So the take-away is that culture and ideas depend not on open exchange and legal protection but on the whims of a harried propaganda minister. Farfur's lessons for Palestinian kids may have been toxic, but his story's lessons for adults aren't much better.

The New York Times is still mum on the martyrdrom preeching mouse.

Posted by TS at May 10, 2007 04:47 AM


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