The Phillies have filed a suit in New York federal court over a dispute regarding the copyright of the Phillie Phanatic.
The character was created in 1978 with a licensing agreement between the team and Harrison/Erickson Inc. until 1984.
At that time the Phillies claim they purchased the rights to the Phillie Phanatic “forever”.
Harrison/Erickson is reported to have sent a letter to the Phillies last summer claiming it could terminate the agreement with the team in June of 2020 if a new deal was not reached.
The following is from a story in the Hollywood Reporter:
“The termination provisions of copyright law allow an author to reclaim rights after 35 years, but the Phillies say that H/E is falsely claiming it ‘created the copyrighted character’ while ‘ignor[ing] The Phillies' role in designing the Phanatic's costume."
The following quote is from the team’s complaint:
"The Club therefore requests that this Court put an immediate end to H/E’s effort to hold up The Phillies with its threats of legal action and to make the Phanatic a free agent. By issuing a declaratory judgment in The Phillies’ favor and an injunction against H/E’s threatened actions, the Court will ensure that Phillies fans will not be deprived of their beloved mascot of 41 years and that The Phillies’ investment of creativity, time, effort and money in the Phanatic will not be liquidated by H/E."
We’ll update the story with any developments.
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