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Mind Candy CEO: "I'm always up for a good battle"

Moshi Monsters creator remains defiant following Lady Gaga injunction

Moshi Monsters creator and Mind Candy CEO Michael Acton Smith remains defiant in the face of a recent injunction from the high court over his Lady Gaga parody, Lady Goo Goo, and said he won't back down from any future disputes.

"I'm always up for a good battle if anyone else wants to do this," he said, discussing concerns over another of his parody characters, Dustbin Beaver.

"We're having discussions around that at the moment," he said. "But obviously we do need to be a little bit careful, because the high court must be respected when they injunct something."

Talking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, the entrepreneur said he was surprised by the judge's decision in the Lady Gaga case, which allows the company to continue to feature the Lady Goo Goo Moshling in the game, but bans the creation from performing any musical work.

"We knew it was a little bit risky, but we took legal advice, and we were more confident that we'd win than not," he explained.

"I think a lot of people have been surprised by the judgement. I personally think the law in this area is too strict and there are people looking at it for review at the moment. I think it would have been fine in the US where parody is much more acceptable."

We knew it was a little bit risky, but we took legal advice, and we were more confident that we'd win than not.

Michael Acton Smith

The judge ruled in Lady Gaga's favour, after the pop star presented evidence to suggest there had been confusion over her connection with the character.

"I have a huge amount of respect for IP owners and Lady Gaga and other musicians and what they've done, but something that is an obvious parody and that's creative and enriches and delights a whole new audience I think is more positive," Acton Smith protested.

"And it's not detracting from her sales or damaging her in my opinion, and so I think it was a bit frustrating. We shall see, who knows where it will all end up?"

The move has delayed, but not cancelled Acton Smith's plans to release an album of Moshi Monsters music or to put on a live tour featuring characters from the MMO.

"We are doing the album, we don't know whether we're going to change... we don't know quite how we're going to deal with it," he admitted.

Moshi Monsters currently has around 50 million registered users. The full and exclusive interview with Acton Smith will be available on Monday.

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Latest comments (4)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
I want to see Bieber take them on. :P
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Alan Pierce Programmer, Digital Delight5 years ago
He's too busy walking into things. :)
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Paul Greasby Advisor, 777 Flight Deck5 years ago
Dustbin Beaver! Bring it on!
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Paul Shirley Programmers 5 years ago
The parody defence is subject to interpretation and neither the creator or target get to make that interpretation. Has to be that way or artists could automatically shut down anything they didn't like and IP thieves could simply label any IP abuse as 'parody'.

All parody has some element of profiting from some one else's work and reputation and there's a fuzzy line between acceptable and unacceptable. The court made a decision, Mind Candy need to accept it, I'm struggling to understand how what they're doing is 'parody' in anything but a weasel word sense.
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