SciFi Japan

    Toho Sues Comcast Over Commercial Featuring Godzilla

    Source: The Hollywood Reporter, various This past March 2nd, Comcast Corporation— the largest provider of cable services in the United States— launched a new brand advertising campaign on television, in print, and online. The centerpiece of the campaign was a series of TV commercials depicting real people living (and singing) in "Comcast Town", a colorful animated city filled with a variety of oddball creatures and characters. The commercials may also be viewed on the official Comcast Town website, alongside a virtual version of the city that visitors can explore online. Earlier this year, the Comcast Town campaign was also the focus of print ads in national magazines like Entertainment Weekly. One of the commercials repeatedly shows a creature identical to the Japanese movie monster Godzilla. The beast first appears battling a giant robot in Comcast Town, then as a toy figure on a shelf, next on a TV screen, and finally walking behind a building featuring Comcast`s "Dream Big" slogan. The same monster is also included in at least one Comcast Town print ad. Toho Co., Ltd.— creators and owners of the Godzilla character— have stated that neither Comcast nor their San Francisco-based advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Inc. had permission or rights to use Godzilla in the Comcast Town campaign. On August 6, lawyers representing Toho filed a lawsuit against Comcast and Goodby, Silverstein over the unauthorized use of Toho`s trademark. Comcast issued a statement regarding the suit claiming, “Comcast does not believe there has been any copyright infringement.” Toho`s lawyer Charles N. Shephard (from the firm Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP) disagreed, telling Los Angeles FOX affiliate KTTV that, "They refuse to compensate us for the license fee. They just took the image for free." A pdf file of the lawsuit is available for downloading here.

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