Parody may be the highest form of flattery, but that’s not the way CCA and B, LLC, publishers of the holiday staple Elf on the Shelf, see it. In late June the company filed a 19-count lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Adams Media, parent company F+W Media, and three Adams staffers—editor Brendan O’Neill, publicist Beth Gissinger, and designer Jessica Faria—for copyright infringement for its humor book for parents, Elf Off the Shelf, to be published October 18.
CCA and B is asking for a jury trial for damages and a permanent injunction against F+W for infringing its copyright, trademarks, and domain name—Adams is promoting the book at www.elfofftheshelf.com. Although the Adams book is currently available for advance order at online retailers and the promotional Web site is live, that could change in the next two weeks. CCA and B is trying to prevent F+W from arguing that its account fits the legal definition of a parody. A hearing for a temporary restraining order is scheduled in Atlanta for August 24 before Judge Amy Totenberg.
F+W delayed actively promoting Elf Off the Shelf last month in an effort to negotiate with CCA and B. The negotiations weren't successful, and the book is now in the bottom 3 million at Amazon.