Sunday, October 30, 2005

A wyrd-ass lawsuit

Or perhaps I should say a stupid-ass lawsuit. A Winnipeg-based folk group called "The Wyrd Sisters" is attempting to get an injunction that would prevent the distribution of the fourth Harry Potter film Goblet of Fire. Their dispute is over the fact that at the Hogwarts' Yule Ball, the band playing for the students' benefit is also called the Wyrd Sisters.

Now: I'm fairly ignorant of most matters litigious or legal, especially when it comes to this specific issue. Given the historical and literary significance of the phrase "Wyrd Sisters," to say nothing of its proliferation both in common use (and the fact that Terry Pratchett wrote a novel with that very title), wouldn't we be on fairly shaky ground here in laying claim to exclusive rights over that phrase? Doesn't fair use laws cover this? I mean, in the end, the one party that might have a claim would be the estate of William Shakespeare, if it still existed (or possibly Sir Henry Neville, if that recent book is to be believed) for the original use of the phrase in Macbeth.

One way or another: I wouldn't want to be this Winnipeg group if the lawsuit ends up being successful and the film is prevented from being distributed in Canada. Legions of spurned Harry Potter fans would probably not be a pretty sight.

Besides which, the collection of musicians they've got to be the Wyrd Sisters in the film is pretty cool: Jarvis Cocker, formerly of Pulp, and Radiohead guys Phil Selway and Jonny Greenwood.

4 comments:

Paige said...

I think I read somewhere that the actual Winnipeg band is spelt "Weird Sisters" even... which makes this whole thing even more redic.

Apparently they are getting legal because they think that if people will get all confused when buying albums after the movie comes out, it will to ruin the reputation of their band (which has been around for something like 7-13 years)

I think this is the first "headline" they've ever had and yupp, as a Harry Potter fan I hate them already :)

Paige said...

and the next site I went to had a sample of the Harry Potter song... check it out Here

Kiss said...

a fairly substancial legal benchmark was set with Metallica, who sued until every company (EVEN INDEPENDENT TINY CO.s) went out of business.. okay.. slightly dramatic of me, but you get the idea. But they've sued anyone using the word metallica.

it'll be interesting to see if they get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

No, it's spelled 'Wyrd.'

There is another band based out of Georgia who spells it as "Weird," but they didn't file the lawsuit.