California Court Kickin' It 'Old Skool' For Robotic Copyright Overlords

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California Court Kickin' It 'Old Skool' For Robotic Copyright Overlords

Tue Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:55AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Kickinitoldskoolposter A California district court judge has 20th Century Fox exclaiming "domo arigato," which, besides being the catchphrase in the song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx, also means "thank you very much" in Japanese.

Last January, Wixen Music Publishing sued Fox and others involved in producing Jamie Kennedy's "Kickin' It Old Skool" for copyright infringement after one of the characters in the film uttered, "It’s time to say Domo Arigato and find your inner Roboto." Wixen argued the producers were violating Styx' copyright; Fox countered that the plaintiffs were acting "like the robots in the song who seek dominion over mankind."

Judge Manuel Real sided with the defendants in the case. The judge's order doesn't say much except the defendants' motion to dismiss was granted with prejudice (meaning the case can't be refiled).

But according to Fox attorney Lincoln Bandlow of Spillane Shaeffer Aronoff Bandlow, the judge stated on the record that the action was being dismissed because the phrase used in the movie was "de minimum," clearly a parody, and that Wixen lacked standing as the "administrator" of rights to the song but was not the actual copyright owner.

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