Lady Gaga has sported some interesting costumes, but as of yet, she hasn’t dressed as a cartoon baby (has she?). So it might seem surprising to many of us that a recent High Court ruling has awarded her an interim injunction over Lady GooGoo, a parady cartoon character featured on children’s social networking site Moshi Monsters in part because the public might confuse the two. UK company Mind Candy, the owner of the site, has been asked to remove any music featuring Lady GooGoo from public view.
The lawsuit was prompted by the intended iTunes release of a single called “The Moshi Song” which features Lady GooGoo. The song became popular on YouTube this past summer, getting 3.5m hits. But according to Lady GaGa’s lawyers, the tune, which loosely mimics elements of Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance”, went too far, infringing on GaGa’s trademark and creating confusion amongst consumers about Lady GooGoo’s affiliation with the adult, and human, Lady GaGa.
The trademark decision could have interesting consequences on parody acts everywhere, especially ones which have a name similar to the original and who parody well-known acts. It is thought that an overhaul in UK copyright law will make the parody act itself, such as a particular song, legitimate. But as far as character trademark goes, we’re still on relatively new ground.