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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Litigating for 'Peanuts?'

I just got around to reading "Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography" by David Michaelis. I would highly recommend this meticulously researched view of Charles Schulz, the genius of the funny pages who, as our readers well know, hailed from right here in Minnesota.

There aren't a lot of lawyers in the book. There is reference to his highly public divorce (It won't be for "Peanuts," one radio commentator quipped at the time.) And, of course, there is a lot of copyright law floating in the background -- though no juicy IP disputes mentioned in the book. ("Rats!" as Charlie Brown would say.)

I suspect if a Schulz clone started something similar today it would spawn plenty of work for lawyers -- particularly given that Schulz based the names and characteristics of many of the characters on real people he knew. You'd probably have to add to each strip one of those lengthy disclaimers stating any resemblance to any real people is strictly coincidental -- completely ruining the comic flow. ("Good grief!")

In any event, I was trying to figure out which "Peanuts" character was the most likely to grow up to be a lawyer. I would have to give it to Lucy -- assuming that whole psychiatry thing doesn't work out for her. With the speed with which she charges Charlie Brown a nickle for her advice, she definitely has the concept of the billable hour down pat.

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