Comic book creator Christopher Sebela posted the following, ahead of New York Comic Con this week.
Badges designed to resemble those work by the Judges of Mega-City One in 2000AD's Judge Dredd comic strip. And with a variety of names and words instead of the name of the Judge in question. But the most prominent having the legend, QUEER.
But not everyone at 2000AD was happy about this. Also attending NYCC. And tweeting publically…
Which set off a host of counter-complaints…
There is definitely irony that the publisher of a parody comic book character designed to satirise and parody over extensive application of the law, attempt to overextend the law to deal with someone making and selling a few parody badges.
Not to mention that 2000AD itself was the subject of such legal concern, sued over the infamous Burger Wars appearances of McDonald, the Jolly Green Giant and Burger King, and has regularly run knock-off parodies of one thing or another over the years.
Then-publishers IPC settled out of court, publishing a half-page retraction and agreeing never to reprint the offending episodes. In 2014 the UK law was changed to implement a European directive on copyright law allowing the use of copyright-protected characters for parody. As a result, Rebellion announced in 2015 that it would re-publish the suppressed episodes for the first time in 2016. Which they did.
Now it is imperative for trademark owners to protect the use of their trademarks, or suffer the possibility that they may lose them. But it is also important to recognise the role of parody – just as Rebellion does in its own comic books.
UPDATE: Just got out of seeing Joker and it looks like everyone sat down and sorted things out.No more badges… for now.