iOS PADD App Copyright Speed Trial

CBS legal threat forces Star Trek-like DiagnosticPADD from App Store

Presiding is Judge Cane.

Judge Cane: You, CBS, claim infringement of a fictional computing interface?

CBS: We do, Judge.

Judge Cane: I am familiar with LCARS, having seen the series.

CBS: Thank you, Judge.

Judge Cane: Now, CBS, show me the iOS software you have in the works that will feature this fictional LCARS interface.


Judge Cane: Well?

CBS: We don’t currently have any, Judge. But that doesn’t mean we won’t!

Judge Cane: So in the meantime you intend to deprive your devoted fans of a bit of fun?


Judge Cane: Isn’t that so?

CBS: Is “fun” a legally-recognized term, Judge?

Judge Cane: It is in this court!


Judge Cane: Now you, developer, why did you create this work?

Developer: We’re fans of the show. And there have been post after post comparing the iPad to the PADD, so we thought it’d make people happy.

CBS: Objection, Judge! “Happy” is a relative term!

Judge Cane: Overruled! Now, developer, I am familiar with the posts you cited. But did you ever inquire of CBS for a license?

Developer: We didn’t think that would be necessary.

Judge Cane: I see. Your ignorance disappoints me. CBS, would you have granted such a license?

CBS: For eleventy-million dollars and total creative control over the app, we would have, Judge!

Judge Cane: I see. Your greed disappoints me. Finally, CBS, one last question: Is there anything in this app that is defamatory, obscene, libelous, slanderous, or devalues the LCARS intellectual property?

CBS: We must admit to nothing of the sort, Judge.

Judge Cane: My ruling is this: The app is permitted and proceeds are to be divided fifty-fifty between developer and CBS. Should developer discontinue the app, all source code and rights are to be assigned to CBS. Developer is prohibited from doing future apps using the LCARS interface. Adjourned!

There. iPad and Trek fans are happy, CBS gets some unexpected bucks and future ownership, and developer has an incentive to continue without fear and with clear guidelines.

That is how you solve a problem like this, goddammit!

In my court the fans matter and “happy” and “fun” matter.


Filed under iOS, Rights

5 responses to “iOS PADD App Copyright Speed Trial

  1. Keishon

    Hell, that sounds reasonable to me. It’s just too bad that “happy” and “fun” don’t offer much weight in these types of cases where money is involved. As you know, we want all the money and total control. OT: thought I’d throw in a Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg is now available on Kindle if you’re interested in sampling it. It’s agency priced of course. My apologies if you already know about it. Later.

    • mikecane

      Oh, I didn’t know! Thanks! Off for the Sample! And now that you’ve popped up, I’m reminded to add your blog to my Speed Dial too. Double WIN!

  2. You sure that wasn’t Judge Solomon? ;-)

    Yeah, I understand that trademark holders have to defend their property (this is how the law is structured. They really have no choice), but I’d be all for them directly negotiating with these folks first. Of course, I can see that, too:

    Trademark holder: Nice app you’ve got there. I’d hate to see anything happen to it…

    Star Trek would be a two season footnote in someone’s book (or web site, or whatever) had it not been for the fans. (I don’t think I have to explain for you why the number is two instead of three.)

    • mikecane

      >>>(I don’t think I have to explain for you why the number is two instead of three.)

      Nope, I was watching on NBC when they wanted to kill it after two seasons. Freiberger — the Kiss of Death (who also killed Space:1999!) — did it for them with that third one. And then of course it became a monster in syndication. How many billions of dollars did these Suits pocket over the decades? And they understood NOTHING of the series, either. Still don’t.

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