SYDNEY—The National Basketball League has suffered another setback today as they were sued by the Three Blind Mice for breach of copyright. The alleged copyright infringement involves NBL referees “replicating the likeness” of the Three Blind Mice.

The timing of this news appears to be of no coincidence as it comes swiftly after League general manager Chuck Harmison inadvertedly championed the case of the Three Blind Mice by admitting that NBL referees made glaring mistakes in Townsville's home loss to the New Zealand Breakers.

Legal counsel for the Three Blind Mice described the behaviour of NBL referees as a blatant attempt “to mimic the trademark visually-impaired unintentional foolery of the Three Blind Mice”.  

It is expected that the amount of compensation demanded by the Three Blind Mice is exacerbated by the fact that the NBL is profiting from the alleged imitation of the beloved classic cartoon characters. “The controversy created by poor refereeing generates interest in the game. The NBL clearly profits from this,” representative counsel for the Three Blind Mice stated. “You don’t need to be a law talking guy to know that this translates to bigger compensation payouts for my clients.”

"Thank you, NBL, for demanding the $1m guarantee for this season. That's another $8m for us to nab."

In previous seasons the NBL has imposed fines on clubs that attempt to highlight the similarity between NBL referees and The Three Blind Mice. NBL headquarters also demanded that the Townsville Crocs mascot cease a parody routine involving the Croc dressing up in a referee outfit and using a cane.

“I’m amazed that they didn’t sue us back then,” an anonymous source within NBL headquarters said. “This is exactly what we were trying to avoid.”

According to the lawyers of The Three Blind Mice, the NBL may be additionally sued for defamation. “The degree of buffoonery exhibited by the referees well exceeds that of my clients. These are not the kind of ridiculous unintentional hijinks that The Three Blind Mice wish to be associated with. Bringing up this case implies that the referees have a degree of likeness to my clients. Given that referees are highly despised, this equates to defamation.”

“The offensive imitation is bad enough, but to take it that far is not only an insult to my clients, it’s an insult to all visually-impaired people around the world. It’s reinforcing the false message that visually-impaired people are unsuitable for important jobs, like refereeing basketball games or piloting aircraft.”

The approach of NBL defense lawyers creates a conundrum for the NBL. “It’d be easiest to say it’s all a parody of the Three Blind Mice and rely on the fair-use defense,” lawyers for the NBL said. “But that’d imply that the referees are actively trying to look foolish. The unfortunate fact is that they just seriously suck.”

Instead, the NBL is expected to evade the litigation by undergoing drastic structural changes to exploit a legal loophole. “We are looking at folding the NBL and creating an entirely new competition,” an anonymous source within the NBL said. “We’ll unofficially label it the new-NBL, but we’ll quickly drop the ‘new’ part. It'll absolve us from all legal responsibilities."

"It’s exactly what we did last off-season to help everyone selectively terminate contracts.”
3/7/2010 06:23:59 am

I understand the premise, and surely no one, whether an individual or organization should intentionally violate copyright or even come close... but when these things get to the point of being based on making a statement for the sake of a "particular population" being offended or impacted... I think sometimes peopl can be on the verge of being too sensitive. Surely not everyone afflicted with blindness is insulted by the idea of blind mice, or their use/depiction in a variety of areas.


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