September 19, 2020

Katy Perry’s lawyers go after vendor selling figurines of Super Bowl phenomenon “Left Shark”

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leftsharkdancenopeBy Mary Beth Quirk From Consumerist

Whether you watched the Super Bowl halftime show live or were chained to the stove frying homemade mozzarella sticks for your friends, you probably know about “Left Shark” by now — the costumed figure to the audience’s left of pop star Katy Perry who didn’t quite seem to know the right dance moves, and subsequently charmed his awkward way into our hearts. But trying to capitalize on that phenom’s fame likely won’t end well, as one 3D designer found out this week.

A designer who prints politically themed and pop culture sculptures says he heard from Perry’s lawyers this week after he put a Left Shark figure up for sale on his site Shapeways.com shortly after the Super Bowl, reports CNN.

“Our client [Perry] recently has learned that you have been involved in the manufacture, sale, marketing and distribution of merchandise featuring a shark sculpture which embodies and uses the [Super Bowl halftime show], and that you have displayed this product on your website, in connection with such sale and distribution,” the letter posted on Instagram reads.

“As you are undoubtedly aware, our client never consented to your use of its copyrighted work and IP, nor did our client consent to the sale of the infringing product. Your unauthorized display and sale of this product infringes our client’s exclusive rights in numerous ways, including but not limited to, infringement of our client’s exclusive rights to reproduce, display and distribute its copyrighted images under the United States Copyright Act as set forth in 17 U.S.C. §106.”

The letter — confirmed as authentic by a representative from the law firm — demanded that he cease and desist selling the products and hand over any products he had in his possession.

Though he said he’d probably go back to “doing pieces about them and other world leaders,” saying “all this lawyer crap is very stressful,” the designer has posted a GoFundMe link on his Instagram page to raise money for his legal fund.

“If I get pro bono legal council or permission to print these and your donation is greater than 29.99 I will send you a 3d printed shark figurine,” he wrote on Instagram.

IMAGE: (@mystyle183 on Instagram)

For more on this story go to: http://consumerist.com/2015/02/06/katy-perrys-lawyers-go-after-vendor-selling-figurines-of-super-bowl-phenomenon-left-shark/

Related story:

Katy Perry hires Greenberg Traurig to reel in ‘Left Shark’ vendor

Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime ShowFrom Nell Gluckman, The Am Law Daily

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty

By now most people have probably forgotten about the cartoonish blue shark that danced a bit off beat behind Katy Perry at the Super Bowl halftime show last Sunday, but not the pop star’s lawyers at Greenberg Traurig.

The shark, known as “Left Shark” presumably because it danced stage left of Perry, rose quickly to Internet fame, prompting Orlando-based artist Fernando Sosa to use a 3-D printer to create and sell 3-inch-tall figurines of the fish.

Within 24 hours, Sosa says the site where he was selling the sharks, called Shapeways, received a cease-and-desist letter from Greenberg Traurig attorneys representing Perry. The letter claims that the use of the shark represents an infringement on Perry’s intellectual property rights and demands that all merchandise be turned over.

Calling the shark imagines and costumes Perry’s intellectual property, the letter says: “Our client recently has learned that you have been involved in the manufacture, sale, marketing and distribution of merchandise featuring a shark sculpture which embodies and uses the IP.”

It goes on to explain that this entitles Perry to “significant legal relief against you, which may include actual damages, statutory damages and punitive damages, as well as immediate and permanent injunctive relief.”

Sosa, who is not currently being represented, though he has started a fundraising campaign on the site gofundme.com so he can hire a lawyer, contends that the figures are not inspired by the halftime show, but rather the hype that the rhythmically challenged shark generated thereafter.

“The lawyer and Katy Perry didn’t make Left Shark big,” he tells The Am Law Daily. “The people made Left Shark big. The people on Twitter have more claim on Left Shark.”

The artist says he sold about 14 of the figurines for $24.99 on shapeways.com. The cease-and-desist letter, which Sosa forwarded to The Am Law Daily, is signed by Greenberg Traurig IP partner Steve Plinio. Greenberg Traurig attorneys did not return calls for comment.

This isn’t the first time Greenberg Traurig has represented Perry on IP matters. Federal trademark records show that the performing artist’s management company is called Killer Queen LLC, which has trademarked a bevy of fragrances, apparel and cosmetics under names such as Kitty Purry, KatyCat, Candyfornia, Purr by Katy Perry and Meow by Katy Perry. Daniel Schloss, of counsel in Greenberg Traurig’s IP practice in New York, is listed as counsel to Perry and Killer Queen.

The Hollywood Reporter has listed Ken Burry, who left Greenberg Traurig two years ago for Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman, as one of Perry’s lawyers.

In 2013, the pop star sparred with Jemella Group Limited over the hairstyling company’s right to use her image on its website after an endorsement contract fell through, according to the Hollywood Reporter. During that matter, Perry was represented by Martin Singer and Andrew Brettler at the Los Angeles-based entertainment litigation firm Lavely & Singer.

As for Sosa, this is not the first time he’s received a cease-and-desist letter for his work. In 2013, he created an iPhone dock in the shape of a throne, which prompted a letter from HBO’s lawyers claiming an infringement on the trademark of the series “Game of Thrones.” He has yet to receive anything from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Russian President Vladimir Putin or North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who have also been subjects of his work. (The Putin creation made some waves on Reddit and beyond for its shape and intended use.)

Sosa says he wants to find a way to continue to sell the Left Shark figurines.

“I don’t want to get rich off these little sharks, I just want to sell it because people want it,” he says. “Now people want it more because they can’t have it.”

For more on this story go to: http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202717331107/Katy-Perry-Hires-Greenberg-Traurig-to-Reel-in-Left-Shark-Vendor#ixzz3RID8bPEC

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