Oh, Brother

Here we go again.

Warner Brother has admitted using DMCA takedown notices to target materials in which it doesn’t own a copyright.

This isn’t the first time the brothers Warner have have gotten grabby.

In 1947 when the Marx Brothers were about to begin production of A Night in Casablanca, Warner Brothers threatened to sue them if they did not change the movie’s title.

Warner Brothers said the title infringed their own rights in the 1942 hit Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. In response, Groucho Marx sent Warner Brothers a letter that began,

Dear Warner Brothers,

Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Brothers. However, it was only a few days after our announcement appeared that we received your long, ominous legal document warning us not to use the name Casablanca.

It seems that in 1471, Ferdinand Balboa Warner, your great-great-grandfather, while looking for a shortcut to the city of Burbank, had stumbled on the shores of Africa and, raising his alpenstock (which he later turned in for a hundred shares of common), named it Casablanca.

I just don’t understand your attitude. Even if you plan on releasing your picture, I am sure that the average movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and Harpo. I don’t know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try.

You claim that you own Casablanca and that no one else can use that name without permission. What about “Warner Brothers”? Do you own that too? You probably have the right to use the name Warner, but what about the name Brothers? Professionally, we were brothers long before you were.

This time around, Hotfile, the target of the phony DMCA notices, is seeking damages for Warner Brothers’ conduct.

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