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John K Posts WB Toons Online, Starts War of Words

REN & STIMPY creator John Kricfalusi believes "Warner Bros. Cartoons hates their fans, after Warner Bros. Ent. forced YouTube to remove clips of classic Looney Tunes shorts for its website, which were posted by John K, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

On Kricfalusis blog (johnkstuff.blogspot.com), the acclaimed animator posts informative essays about his favorite cartoons, which he has posts clips from to illustrate his point.

However, Warner Bros. Ent.'s lawyers had YouTube remove the clips claiming it was a violation of their copyright. Kricfalusi believes his use of the clips is clearly within the fair-use provisions of copyright law.

When YouTube sent Kricfalusi their official notice of compliance with the takedown request, the animator's public response was a post headlined, "Warner Bros. Cartoons hates their fans," followed by copies of the correspondence between him and YouTube and illustrated with an image that showed Bugs Bunny appearing to invite Elmer Fudd to kiss his, um, tail.

However, when it comes to the fair use terms, Warner seems to agree with Kricfalusi, but object to the clips being hosted via YouTube.

"We certainly don't object to legitimate fair uses," the WB spokesman said. "Mr. Kricfalusi's blog provides a link to our copyrighted cartoons posted on YouTube, which means they are available to be viewed by anyone without any of the educational and historical perspective that Mr. Kricfalusi's commentary provides. In fact, that commentary is only available to those people who specifically link to it through Mr. Kricfalusi's blog. The fact that someone is providing commentary about a copyrighted work and links to that work residing on another site does not justify the display and distribution of that work standing alone on that other site.

There is no disagreement that Kricfalusi is an authority on Warners cartoons. The studio has even tapped him to provide featurettes and audio commentaries for DVD sets like Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volumes 2 and 3."

Additionally, Kricfalusi claims some of the cartoons in question are in the public domain because he uses the original versions and not the restored versions that have newer copyrights.

Warners spokesman disagrees, stating, "We do not issue takedown notices for any works in which we don't have a copyright claim, and in this case we have one."

"Warner Bros. should be fiercely behind anything that gets these cartoons out there," Kricfalusi said. "They should have it all over YouTube, and they should release it all on DVD, then everyone would want to run out and buy them and the T-shirts and toys."

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Rick DeMott
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