This is fucking ridiculous

On March 30, 2007 by Eden M. Kennedy

Why am I posting at 3:00 a.m.? Well, for one, if you’re ever tempted to watch Jumanji with a five-year-old, you might soon end up with a child who wails your name in the middle of the night because the child has had a nightmare about a) wild animals coming out of his closet, or b) dice that roll and never let him stop playing the game!

That’s two nights ago we watched the movie, and two nights of nachtmares. Yes, if you’re ever tempted to watch that exciting, family-oriented, Robin Williams-filled movie with a young child, you might want to reconsider. Especially since it also seems to cause Jackson to wake up at three ay-em with a painfully dead arm or leg that needs to be massaged back into circulation while he whimpers and you are so tired you want to kill yourself. Unless this is some new, unexpected developmental milestone that I didn’t see in the books?

So, it’s the middle of the night and I’m wide awake, and what do I do when I’m wide awake in the middle of the night? Think about Dutch lawyers, of course!

Herewith, the entire correspondance between me and a Dutch lawyer, presented in chronologic-O-vision, with a new exciting ending, so you might want to go get yourself a refreshing beverage before you settle in for the rest of this monument to Internet nonsense.

Ready?

(If you’re just joining us, you might want to quickly peruse part the first (a.k.a. the original, though now edited, post, and part the second, which will explain how we got to where we are.)

E-mail #1, sent March 6, 2007:

Dear Madam,

I am writing to you in my capacity as the attorney of Mercis B.V., established in Amsterdam, and Mr. Dick Bruna, domiciled in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Dick Bruna is the maker of the Miffy (in Dutch “Nijntje”) figure, among other characters. Dick Bruna’s drawings are protected by copyright. Dick Bruna has transferred his copyrights to Mercis B.V. For further information about Mercis B.V. and the works of Dick Bruna, please visit www.mercis.com and www.nijntje.nl or www.miffy.com. It is unlawful to use those rights without the permission of the copyright proprietor.

Mercis B.V., however, has established that without its permission a figure of Dick Bruna is exposed at the following website; http://www.fussy.org/2002_10_01_archive.html ( “This is a picture of my innermost deepest most inner soul”)

The Miffy-figure distributed among the general public by means of the above URL is a reproduction and/or modification of protected work of Dick Bruna. Thus infringement is committed of Mercis B.V’s copyrights.

Against that background I kindly ask you to remove all Miffy related content from the concerned website before 8 March next.

We look forward to your affirmative response.

Sincerely,

A Dutch lawyer

I ignored e-mail #1.

So then on March 12, 2007 I received e-mail #2:

Dear Sir, Madam,

Please note the correspondence below. [The first e-mail was re-sent in the second.]

I request you to go in to the matter in that order that the infringing content will be removed before Wednesday 14 March next.
In case you need any other information from me in order to do so, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

A Dutch lawyer

To which I immediately replied:

Would it satisfy you if I took down the Miffy image? I’m not sure how writing my thoughts about Miffy on a personal web site is an infringement.

Eden

This response caused me to receive, on March 13, 2007, e-mail #3:

Dear Mrs. Kennedy,

Thank you for your reply.
You are indeed allowed to write your thoughts about Miffy as long as you do not use the name Miffy in a way that is detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of Mercis B.V.’s trade mark. The current text on your website is acceptable.

However, after just visiting the website concerned, I have seen that the former Miffy picture has been replaced with another picture of Miffy. This picture is infringing too, since this picture is a modification of protected work of Dick Bruna. I kindly ask you to remove all Miffy related illustrations from the concerned website before 14 March next.

Kind regards,

A Dutch lawyer

To which I immediately, dick-suckingly replied:

Okay, then, let me ask you this: is there any acceptable version of Miffy or small portion of an image of Miffy that Dick Bruna Enterprises would give me permission to use on this post? Since it’s so far back in my archives I don’t think many people see it anyway, but I would very much like to maintain some visual representation of Miffy, if possible, to show anyone who reads my site and who doesn’t know who she is how unbelievably adorable she is.

Thank you!

This was mulled over/politely ignored/shelved while my Dutch lawyer took a refreshing holiday to Greece for ten days.

Then, on March 28, 2007, I got e-mail #4:

Dear Ms. Kennedy,

Reference is made to our former correspondence. Regrettably, there still is an infringing Miffy picture on the website in question. I kindly request you to remove the infringing content before Friday 30 March next.

Kind regards,

A Dutch lawyer

To which I immediately, piss-offedly replied:

Please direct me to a non-infringing image of Miffy that I would be allowed to use on my web site. Or is no one allowed to post a picture of Miffy anywhere on the Internet? Because there are a ton of people out there doing it. Are you asking them all to take down their images?

Eden

And because I was starting to see that this Dutch lawyer of mine was going to keep setting deadlines until I either went mad or hired a lawyer or my own — and let’s face it, my husband was in the background going, “That’s all we need right now, to have a bunch of Dutch lawyers sue us because you won’t take a picture of a goddamn rabbit off your site” — I fired off this addendum to my previous e-mail the following day:

And just to clarify, the Miffy picture you’re seeing on my site right now was drawn by me and my son and is not a stolen or modified work of Dick Bruna’s.

And so you might well understand that I was delighted to receive this in the mail today, which I lovingly and infringingly reproduce for you here:

So that’s it, I’m done. It’s now 4:03 a.m. and I’m going to rewrite the original post and take down the image, because I’m tired and this whole thing is fucking ridiculous.

Comments

comments

65 Responses to “This is fucking ridiculous”

  • What a c*nt. You are well rid of her as a friend. You wouldn’t believe the shit she has pulled on me over the years.

  • My kid keeps me awake all the time. I heard the freakin neighbor leaving for work and at least three times this week. No way is he watching Jamanji ….nightmare movie ….thanks for the warning, becuase it was on my list. Goodbye to Miffy she has a dick for a dutch lawyer and well, HELLO KITTY!

  • This is why Hello Kitty is more popular. Miffy is a fickle friend. Who likes to rub salt in your wounds.

  • heee hee! You got mail from Miffy. I swear people are so creative. I love it!

    And Jumanji scared the crap out of me not too long ago too.

  • You know, I never really had an opinion about Miffy. But now? I’m using brain space to feel hostility toward a line drawing of a rabbit.

    I sincerely hope this does not affect my Easter on 8 April next.

  • “a figure of Dick Bruna is exposed”

    I love that! Exposed! You exposed Miffy, you perv!

  • I’m overjoyed by the fact that you emphasize your ‘bird’ with the two half-fingers-adjacent.

    That really gets the “no, no…fuck you” point across. Sweet.

  • do you think Dutch Lawyer is even real? Because Dutch Lawyer sounds like maybe a really inventive troll.

  • That is a beautiful, beautiful postcard. And look at the postmark! Who knew that Miffy kept a pied à terre in SF? I think Miffy (or “Nijntje” in Dutch) might be a party girl.

  • I still don’t get it. You were saying something good!

  • Goddamn. This is the craziest shit I have ever read.

    I think i went to high school with Miffy, looks like she’s still a bitch with a mouthpiece.

  • It’s not Miffy’s fault. It’s her handlers. There’s a reason she has an x for a mouth. She’s probably in rehab and they don’t want people to start thinking of her and asking questions.

  • Insane, yet you make it so funny. And we appreciate it. The tears are the icing on the cake.

    My child was also up at 4:13 telling me she was “cold” and needed juice. She had about a thousand blankets on her bed and she NEVER drank the juice! ARGH! I am tired and cranky and might just take it out on Miffy. Charlotte shrieks NO MIFFY! when it comes on anyhow.

  • In the words of Jessica Rabbit:
    “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

    Stupid Dutch Lawyers. I shall begin a Miffy boycott in this house at once!

  • Fifty bucks says the Dutch lawyer is that retarded alligator Charlie. He talks like he doesn’t have a toungue but he writes like an attorney with a stick up his ass. I say we stage a lynchin’. I need some new gator boots.

  • Here Here!!
    Personally, all that grunting and mumbling that Miffy and her crack addict friends reminds me too much of an organized, 5-color methadone clinic.
    And how is it that all the characters are 2/3 the size of the houses? Damned Dutch, take a class in perspective drawing you dolt.

  • Poppy Pig,

    She may be a c*nt, but her handwriting is lovely.

  • I’m thinking the “dutch lawyer” isn’t Dutch or a lawyer, just a total turd. Ok, even if said lawyer is Dutch, he/she is still turd-like.

    BTW, age five is when the nightmares begin, then they’ll kick in again around age eight, and NO, they don’t tell you about that in the books… damn their scurrilous hides.

  • That Miffy. Boy, is she ever miffed. I say you’re better off without a friend whose mouth has been duct-taped shut.

  • You did a really nice job of restraining yourself in your emails, for what it’s worth. And you and I shoot the bird the same way. I find this incredibly satisfying.

  • Yeah, what is it with people who pin all their non-bird-shooting fingers under their thumb? Is it an east coast/west coast thing?

  • I’m pretty sure your use of the Miffy image would qualify as Fair Use under American law, and thus the appropriate response to those wooden-shoe-wearing Dutch lawyers would be to go sew their mouths into an X.

    I’m going to post an image of Miffy the next chance I get.

  • I don’t think it’s an east/west coast thing. I think it depends on which hand is your dominant hand. I tend to do the “pinned” down thing on my non-dominat hand. Maybe that’s just me. LOL!

    Bastards! I hope the Dick, I mean Dutch lawyer knows better than to email or contact you again.

  • You fucking rock! I think you did the right thing!!!!

  • The best thing I’ve read today: “a figure of Dick Bruna is exposed”. I am 14.

    I want to read more things written by people domiciled in the Netherlands.

  • It’s disgusting, but copyright and trademark law is a tangled web of wordy bullshit. I remember getting so enraged in college during my civil litigation classes when we’d talk about these lawsuits. You want to talk about cracking down on frivolous lawsuits, this might be a good place to start!

  • You should replace your image with my image…maybe we could confuse them. Or if they bother you again, say hey, I know for a fact that Miffy is everywhere…and then list all our urls with Miffy’s…maybe we need to add Miffy favicon’s to our urls, too.

    OH, IT COULD TOTALLY BE ON NOW!

  • Beste Mevrouw Kennedy,

    Het spijt me dat mijn avocaat dit bericht aan U gezenden heeft. Hij zult een andere baan zoeken.

    Beste wensen

    Uw (niet!)

    Nijnte (“Miffy”)

  • What utter and absolute poppycock! And piffle! Miffy may be extra cute, but I never heard of Hello Kitty suing anyone with nasty Euro-lawyers. Have the Dutch really nothing better to do than write you letters? Isn’t there a little boy with his finger in a dam somewhere?

  • oh good lord, what a bunch of @$@$##%$

    you might want to send them this : ( sorry for the long url, didn’t have time to go make it tiny):

    http://images.google.com/images?q=miffy&ie;=UTF-8&oe;=UTF-8&client;=firefox-a&rls;=org.mozilla:en-US:official&um;=1&sa;=N&tab;=wi

  • whatever, i’m new here, courtesy of dooce.

    people are dumb. this clearly started out as “hey guys, want to see a picture of something i think is AWESOME? also, here is a link you should BUY THEIR PRODUCT FOR WHICH I GET NO DOLLARS”

    aka, free publicity and advertising on what is apparently, a fairly well trafficked site.

    and then they ruined it.

    also, that postcard was really, really sad :(

    i too have been punished for trying to share something i loved, that would in turn make them dollars, and been threatened by lawyers. teh stupidity of it all makes blood boil.

    just great.

    anyway, i sure did like wasting time at work though. happy friday!

  • Wait ’til Nickelodeon finds all of my posts where I call Spongebob a yellow-bellied rat bastard. I’d better start editing now.

    I think Dutch Lawyer ought to go toke up and relax a bit.

  • I’ve long thought that the bird was properly executed with bent ring and forefingers instead of the lazy way – with them merely curled back.

    if you’re going to tell someone to fuck off, it should be done with proper execution to get the full effect. Else, you just get across some half-hearted screw you if you feel like it message.

  • Well done!!! It’s a shame they are such morons.

    They read that Jumanji book when I was in elementary school and it scared the SHIT out of me! I have yet to watch the movie. The previews freaked me out enough.

  • Re: nightmares

    My daughter has not had a nightmare since I convinced her that our sweet house dog would turn into a ferocious beast and protect her from any intruder/evil that might come her way in the night.

  • Is it ok if I tell you I love you? Cause I do. You are too f’ing funny. Plus more people should post pictures of themselves giving the bird. I think we need a national blogging f’ck off month.

  • Mrs. Kennedy, I’m sorry Miffy is so miffed. Sounds like they really muffed the handling of the whole situation. As a lawyer, tho’, you’re right about fair use, but the problem with the interwebs is that no one really knows “where” it is, which means that the Dutch have an argument that their copyright law applies, at least as to Dutch or EU (don’t know if it’s EU or Nederlander copyright law) readers, since they’re reading the content under the jurisdiction of the non-US law. Soo… somewhat non-laughable cease and desist lawyer letters. But totally stoooooopid, since clearly, you loved Miffy until she got all stuffy. But, I TOTALLY think your picture of your mail is non-infringing, since it’s parody at this point, and that’s FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Just tell Miffy’s lawyer that he hates freedom and that the terrorists will win if he thinks this image infringes too.

  • I flip the bird like that too! I was actually criticized for my form by one from the other school of bird-flipping. That school is full of bird-snobs.

    I went back to your original post and found it amusing that your link to a fan in Japan has also been pulled. I guess that lawyer is trotting his/her copyright infringement song and dance ’round the globe.

  • No! The song is gone now, too? Will the Dutch Lawyer stop at nothing??

  • Maybe it is an east coast / west coast issue. Although I grew up in Florida and I’ve been throwing the knuckle bird since I was in kindergarten, so I don’t know. I bet Miffy holds her fingers down.

  • Dutch Lawyer’s plan is backfiring.

    His actions are hurting Miffy’s image way more than any disparaging remarks in a blog entry ever could. How dare they do that to one of Miffy’s fans. It’s not as if you were reproducing the illustration and selling it for a profit.

    He’s killing the Mif.

  • My Word! That’s friggin ridiculous. Does this guy have nothing better to do than browse the archives of blogs for offending Miffy photos? I mean, I search blog archives all the time, only I don’t do it in hopes of finding some lame copyright infringement!

    I like the finger picture. Very appropriate, and much braver than I would ever be.

  • you live in america and we have thing called fair use. i think you should bring this whole ordeal to the attention of the eff – they love shit like this.

    http://www.eff.org/

    it’s fair use, it showed your support for the christing licensed character for jeezy creezy sake. this is bullshit mrs. kennedy.

  • You’re the best, Eden.

  • The same thing happened to me with my little sister a few years ago. We are really close, so for much of her upbringing I volunteered to take care of her while my mom handled my brothers. I decided one night to introduce her to The Labyrinth which scared the shit out of her. She couldn’t go to sleep for hours!

    Sorry about that fucking bunny stuff. People suck.

  • I would send your story to boingboing.net. Honestly, they post egregrious stories of copyright abuse all the time. IANAL, but this really seems like a fair use issue…and since you’re not IN the Netherlands, if they don’t want to see you, let them block you there. Sheesh. I mean, hash houses are ok but Miffy posts aren’t? Cut it out, you crazy Dutch!

    But really, it’s entirely possible this guy is NOT a real Dutch Lawyer, or that if he is, he is counting on you not knowing the law.

  • I think you oughta just swing for the fences and make a Miffy Must Die t-shirt.

  • Fascinating. So a character that’s 50 years old, and whose books and products we may purchase cannot be drawn by a child and mother. Has anyone connected with the idea that it could bring in revenue? I didn’t even know who the hell the damn rabbit was until I read about it in your posts.

  • To the previous poster who mentioned that hey, this might be good for revenue, allow me to say this: I recently moved to an EU country…. and one thing is astonishingly clear. This most advanced and delicate of societies has yet to take any notice of the postive correlation between good customer service and increased revenue. In fact, one might even wager that they have yet to notice the positive correlation between a sound work ethic, increased revenue for one’s employers, and a better quality of life. So the idea that plastering Miffy’s picture everywhere might make them a few extra bucks that they can use on something fun, such as additional cigarettes and coffee and haute coutoure (instead of vile attorneys) NEVER CROSSES THEIR MINDS.

    Then again, if 75% of my income went towards taxes to keep my city from becoming an underwater archeological site, I’d be a little grumpy too. But still, marijuana and prostition are legal… you think that would take the edge off a bit.

  • It’s an X and two dots, what the hell??? I hope the Jumanji-fear goes away soon so that you can sleep. And the Dutch lawyer sits on a pin!

  • I totally flip the bird the same way. I think it looks girlier that way. Like, “I can’t be bothered to really pull back these other fingers – but you get my drift, prick.”
    Something like that. :)

  • You need to make Miffy stay up and watch Jumanji. Then, just don’t be there for her.

  • Has the Miffy-Fussygate scandal gotten to the people at Noggin? They have removed Miffy from the morning lineup!

    Where will I get my fix of sweet criss-crossed bunny mouths who always seem to obey their parents and scold their dogs with kind words and laughter? I will miss the soft, round flowers and the primary colored houses and the kind narrator who sounds just a little like Mary Alice on Desperate Housewives.

  • Here in the Deep South, we give people the finger just like you’re doing it, Mrs. K. Don’t know why some pin all their fingers under their thumbs.

  • I see a new masthead in your future.

  • Ok, WOW. I went through a major Dick Bruna obsession several years ago and had always felt the Ninjte was beyond reproach. I am now disabused of this notion.

    Also, I feel that Sanrio totally ripped off Bruna to begin with, so they are displacing all of their rage onto (little) you because there is no way they can take on that Japanese behemoth…and I used to think so highly of the Dutch!

  • Hmm… my husband’s Dutch and I love Nijntje, so all this Dutch-bashing seems a little much to me. But, I get the point – this whole thing is fishy. Why would a lawyer communicate with you over email? Did you ever receive anything via the postal service? If not, I think it’s just a sham. I’m pretty sure I have more than one picture of the rabbit in question on my baby blog.

  • Miffy, stupid little bunny.
    Miffy, litigious little bunny.
    Miffy, lame ass Dutch bunny.
    Miffy and her lawyer.

    I think the song is catchier the old way. Too bad the Dutch have no sense of humor and name a bunny “ninja”.

    tisk tisk

  • Hilarious.

  • i can’t see the original miffy site! has it been taken down? but what about the SONG???

  • OK, don’t want to keep stirring the pot, nor do I want to get this artist in trouble… but I just noticed this on Etsy.

    Is it really you in disguise, Fussy?

    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5082577

  • Ditto what Aimee said, but I’ve been dying to send you this:

    http://pixelgirlshop.com/item.php?item_id=513&category;_id=50

    Naughty Bunny, indeed!

  • I have read your blog carefully and like it a lot! We have the same opnion! Could you check my blog at: http://www.muslimfriends.com/i/free to check my blog title: helenwang`s blog”? May be we can talk further and be friends.

  • I once worked as a children’s bookseller and we had a lovely selection of four inch-high plastic Miffy figures wearing adorable cotton dresses. Each bunny came in it’s own little box.

    One day I was tidying up the picture books and I found an empty box.

    Then I found an adorable cotton dress.

    But I never found Miffy.

    It was oddly chilling to not be able to find a plastic rabbit, but that’s the only Miffy story I have for you.