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MLB mascot subject of copyright law claim

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2019 | Copyright Law

Copyrights are important for New York musicians, but they are also useful for artists of any kind. That could include writers, photographers, visual artists and many others. Those who create puppets and costumes often need the protection of copyright law, too. This is evident in the recent civil claim that one Major League Baseball team brought against a married pair of artists responsible for creating a recognizable team mascot known as the Phanatic.

The costume was created by a husband and wife team who creates puppets and costumes. They created the character back in 1978 and were paid less than $4,000, though they retained the copyright. In 1984, the team purchased the rights from the couple for $250,000 and claimed the agreement was supposed to last indefinitely. The law says that artists can renegotiate copyright agreements after 35 years have passed, which is what the artists are attempting to do.

The Phillies filed a lawsuit against the couple, alleging that it is a co-creator of the Phanatic. The couple has said they would be willing to sell the mascot to another team if the Phillies do not renegotiate the contract with them. However, experts say this would be difficult since the mascot is already heavily associated with that team.

However this case turns out, it shows just how important it is for artists of all mediums to retain the copyright of their works. An artist may want to seek the advice of an experienced copyright law attorney here in New York regarding questions about protecting his or her work. It may be the best way to ensure that the artist retains control of his or her artistic work.