Wednesday, 26 November 2014
I would like to thank Chris Torrero for sending us the following story.
The Italian news last week concerned one of Peppa Pig’s cartoon friend, Gabriella Goat. Gabriella Capra, a 40 year old Italian business woman decided to sue the producers of the Peppa Pig cartoons for defamation and has asked for a sum of €100,000.
In one episode of the series, the Pig family visit Italy where they meet the Goat family. Peppa befriends their daughter Gabriella Goat. In the English episode, the goat character introduces herself by saying: “Hello. I am Gabriella Goat. Baaaaa” while in the Italian translated version, she says: “Buon giorno, sono Gabriella Capra. Baaaaa”, the word "goat" being directly translated into Italian as Capra. Gabriella Capra says that since the episode with Gabriella Goat was aired, she has been ridiculed by her friends and has been left ‘damaged’.
The Peppa Pig series is one of the most popular in the cartoon realm at the moment. The series is produced by the British company Astley Baker Davies (ABD) whose animation studio is based in London. The Peppa Pig episodes are broadcast in 180 countries, one of which is Italy.
Gabriella Capra contacted a consumer advocacy group in Milan called the National Foundation of Consumers (NFC), which filed a suit against ABD. NFC said that Ms Capra had been “innocently exposed to public hilarity”. They believe that she has a claim against ABD because the Peppa Pig shows are not preceded by a disclaimer stating that similarities with real life people are only mere coincidences.
Ms Capra is not a world famous personality, so it is unlikely that she was the inspiration behind the producers’ creation of Gabriella Goat. Apart from having a similar name to the character when translated in Italian, there are no similarities between Ms Capra and the cartoon character. This is in contrast with one Peppa Pig episode where Peppa meets the Queen’s cartoon character, which was clearly inspired by the Queen. No claims were ever issued against ABD for that use.
The success of the Peppa Pig series has made the Gabriella Goat character more easily noticeable to her peers. This is a similar problem which has been faced by men called Harry Potter who have led quiet lives until the phenomenal success of the JK Rowling books made their names not only more noticeable, but also the subject of trade mark protection.
There are also people who seek the fame of already famous characters. Some name their children after popular characters from books or the cinema while others have changed their name to be that of their idols, such as Laura Skywalker Matthews, which you can read in my earlier post here.
In this case, it appears that Ms Capra was simply a victim of unfortunate circumstances. We’ll have to wait and see how she gets on with her claim.
Ps: For those whom it may interest, Peppa Pig is a growing brand, and there is now even a Peppa Pig World theme park in Hampshire!