The Grinch and Louisville

(The following is based on today’s news story that attorneys representing Dr. Seuss Enterprises ordered Louisville to cease and desist with plans to use characters from “The Grinch” in its “Light Up Louisville” celebration this weekend. With apologies to the late author.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Lights)

Every Lou down in Lou-ville lit up Christmas a lot.

But the firm that held rights to the Grinch tale did NOT.

They hated non-profit and cheap imitation. Now please don’t ask why. They pressed litigation. It could be their bottom line didn’t look right. It could be, perhaps, that they just hated light. But I think that the most likely reason might be the lawyer-shaped hole where a heart ought to be.

Whatever the reason, the light or the hole, they came down on the Lous like a big lump of coal. “They’re stringing their lights!” they expressed with a flinch. “Those lousy Lou-gooders are using the Grinch!” Then in their stank boardroom they said with a shrug, “We MUST find some way to pull the Lous’ plug!”

For soon, they just knew . . .

All the Lou girls and boys would watch ’round the tree as the town threw the switch and it would be FREE. Not a dime would they earn, not a soul would be fleeced, which was something this firm couldn’t stand in the least.

Then the Lous would do something they hate most of all, every Lou down in Lou-ville the tall and the small, they’d tour the lit Who-ville while carols were playing, then they’d all go back home, every one, without PAYING!

“The Grinch is our property,” came their mad shout, “We must find a way to put these lights out!”

Then they got an idea. A lawful idea. The firm got an enforceable, lawful idea.

“We know JUST what to do,” the Grinch-lawyers hissed. “We’ll send them a letter to cease-and desist.”

“And if that doesn’t work,” they clucked without unction, “We’ll go down to Lou-ville and get an injunction.”

So the Grinch-lights came down, Cindy Lou and the houses, every speck of Seuss-ism, including Who-mouses.

And up in their office, the lawyers awaited, smiling to think of the Lou-lights abated. “Poo-poo to the Lous,” the Grinch counsel barked, “they’re just finding out that their Who-plans went dark.”

And they looked out their window — but did not see night. Instead from the Lou-ville square they saw LIGHT. They had not stopped Light Up from coming, it came! It just lacked a part that was kitchy and lame.

And the Grinch lawyers stood there inside their cold suite, and they puzzled a bit, and then went out to eat. They talked for a while and asked, “How could this be? Nobody at all owns the rights to the tree! Maybe we’re wrong in hoarding Who-cheer. We’ll do market research in the New Year.”

And what happened then? Well, in Lou-ville they say that the Christmas lights burned three-times brighter that day.

And as for the Grinch, well, he didn’t appear. But there’s far more to celebrate this time of year.


21 thoughts on “The Grinch and Louisville

  1. That was fantastic! How could this not make it to the print section for a wider audience to enjoy?! I’ll be reading it to my family when I get home. Well done!–Matt Keck

  2. Eric, I know this was probably written in jest, but what if someone copied your column everyday in another newspaper? There’s a reason we have copyright laws. You must actively protect your intellectual property rights or you risk losing them. These lawyers were only doing what was best for their client. It seems the mayor, himself a lawyer, should have known better. Suess Enterprises probably would have been interested in a license if only the city had contacted them.

  3. We’re not talking about plagiarism. And we’re not talking about profiting from this work.Certainly, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has a right to defend its copyright.But them going after a public non-profit celebration of Seuss’ work is tantamount to me trying to shut down a Sunday school class from using something I’d written for the paper in print, or a school class from distributing a column to discuss.It’s fine legally. But really, it’s petty.

  4. Eric – I have always enjoyed your dad’s columns and I have been very happy to see that you inherited the same writing talent from him as well.I agree with your parody also – great stuff! While we’re at it – Didn’t Coca-Cola advertising start the Santa Claus image as we know it? Round, jolly, redsuited fellow – Its a good thing they never had lawyers to get involved to put a stop to that one! For those grinch’s who replied negatively to this story – its a parody, written tongue in cheek – lighten up for goodness sakes … well I think a lump of coal in their stockings this year should take care of that

  5. Sorry, Eric, but your analogy falls flat. First, this use of copyright is on a much broader scale. This is the 16th largest city in the country trying to use copyrighted material for its Christmas party. Scope of use is important when deciding whether to approach infringers. If this were a small town trying to use the Grinch theme, Seuss Enterprises probably would not have gone after them. Second, educational use is considered fair use, so the school distributing your article to students would not constitute copyright infringement. I still enjoyed your parody. Keep up the good work.

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