For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Singing Cactus routs Olympic Committee, puts Prickly Pear to Flight

Kishkashta
Olympic Committee Gets Sued.  The IPKat had naively believed that one of the great truths of modern life is that, when national Olympic Committees go to court, their role is always that of the plaintiff -- and a successful plaintiff, at that.  He was therefore most surprised to be directed to a Jerusalem Post article, "Singing cactus wins courtroom victory in copyright clash", by Joanna Paraszczuk [If you could have names in Scrabble, Joanna's surname would be worth a cool 36 even if you couldn't put it on a triple word score, notes Merpel, whose own surname, with an M, a C and a K, doesn't do too badly].  Technically speaking it was not the cactus but its rights owners who won the victory since, even in the very liberal legal atmosphere of the 2010s, fictional characters still don't have locus standi to bring infringement claims in their own names [The situation may soon change. The Kat notes that, as you read this, five Killer Whales are currently named as plaintiffs in legal proceedings against SeaWorld].

Anyway, it seems that a Tel-Aviv District Court judge concluded that the local Olympians had slipped up badly when they chose Shpitzik the Prickly Pear (below, left) as the Israeli mascot for the impending London 2012 Olympics on account of its similarity to children’s TV star Kishkashta the Singing Cactus (above, right), granting injunctive relief.

The ruling came after Israel Educational Television, which owns the rights to Kishkashta, filed an urgent request with the Tel Aviv District Court asking that the Israel OC be prevented from using Shpitzik, which it has chosen as Israel’s mascot in the London Olympics this summer.

According to the article, the judge (Deputy Court President Judge Gideon Ginat) concluded that Shpitzik had infringed Kishkashta’s copyright, ruled that no form of Shpitzik might be used by the Committee and ordered it to pay costs of some NIS 50,000 [just over 10,000 euro, or US$ 13,500] to Israel Educational Television, finding that the Committee had taken a well-known character and made use of it by adding some elements, making some minor changes and giving it another nickname.

The IPKat can't resist observing that, when he first saw  Kishkashta the Singing Cactus, his immediate thought was, "Goodness, doesn't he look like Shrek!" (right).  But what do readers think?

Prickly pear recipes here and here
Other singing cactuses here and here
3.54 million Google search results for 'cactus or cacti' here

A kat-pat to Shabtai Atlow for letting the Kats know about this.

2 comments:

Marijana Kozakijevic said...

This reader thinks Kishkashta looks more like Fozzie Bear from the Muppet Show….Different colour but same facial expression!

Michael Factor said...

For a fuller report of this ruling (posted Thursday 9 February) and an awful tongue-twister, see http://blog.ipfactor.co.il/2012/02/09/kishkashta-a-prickly-copyright-ruling/

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