Little Lawsuit on the Prairie

EDITED TO ADD: There is an update on the story. The attorney from Friendly Family Productions has offered a statement:

Marcia Paul, the New York attorney representing Friendly Family, said in a statement Monday that the children of television producer Ed Friendly never wanted to interfere with the maintenance of the Kansas museum, and had spent months trying to reach an agreement that would benefit the museum and protect the family’s intellectual property rights.

Those attempts were repeatedly spurned, Paul said.

“A number of other similar historical sites exist throughout the country commemorating the sites where the Ingalls and Wilder families lived, as depicted in Ms. Wilder’s wonderful stories, but none other than this Kansas museum have crossed the line into piracy,” she said. “That left the Friendly family with no option but to sue.”

Hmmm. Would that be because none other than this Kansas museum is on the site of the book called Little House on the Prairie?

*****************

Friendly Family Productions, the production company behind the TV show “Little House on the Prairie,” is suing the Little House homesite in Wayside, KS, outside of Independence, for — wait for it — trademark infringement.

Here’s the full story by AP Reporter Roxana Hegeman. It expresses the situation exactly as it is. The facts speak for themselves.

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11 Responses to Little Lawsuit on the Prairie

  1. Dakotagirl says:

    I haven’t been able to get the web site to come up. It tries to load, but never does. Overall, I think this really sucks. Obviously, this company doesn’t realize or care about how the TV show and the books are intertwined.

    I am in favor in helping set up a fund for donations to be used for their legal fees. I know it won’t be enough to pay all of them, but every little bit helps.

    Laura and Rose would be appalled.

  2. Laura says:

    According to IMDB LHOTP is produced by Ed Friendly Productions which is the same, I believe as Friendly Family Productions. Wonder how you contact them. I’ll keep looking.

  3. Michelle says:

    My name is Michelle Martin and I work with Bill Kurtis, the co-owner of LIttle House on the Prairie near Independence, KS. Bill and myself authored a new book (The Prairie Table Cookbook) and make reference to Little House in our book. I am also a living historian and have had the chance to portray Caroline Ingalls “Ma” in the replica cabin at the site.

    If you wish to donate funds or write letters of support that can help us sway public opinion in our favor in the face of such a lawsuit, please contact Jean Schodorf. She is a Kansas state senator, educator and president of LIttle House. I have known Jean for several years and she works hard to ensure that the legacy of Little House and her parents, Brig. Gen. William Kurtis and his wife Wilma, is carried out at the site. The site was founded out of a love of the past, a desire to keep our history alive and to teach children about our wonderful nation.

    This lawsuit unfortunately shows us the ugly side of our world. It is a shame when an educational, nonprofit entity can be sued for trademark infringements that the already have legally obtained. Please use this as a chance to rally around one of the places that Laura and her family lived and help us keep history alive and well.

    Dakotagirl you are right, Laura and Rose would be appalled.

    You can email Jean at jschodorf@aol.com

    You can see new photos of Little House, taken just last weekend, at my website, please fell free to visit me at:
    http://web.mac.com/discoveringhistory

    HELP SAVE OUR HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!

  4. 'B. says:

    Wow. Just…wow.

  5. Amy says:

    This lawsuit is ridiculous and without merit, and I imagine it’s there only so that Friendly & Co. can try to cash in on more merchandising from the musical, which they can see has potential.

    Rally ’round, folks, because I agree–Laura and Rose would be more than appalled.

    (Wonder what Abigail MacBride thinks about this?)

  6. Laura W. says:

    Amy, I agree. The first thing I thought when I read this was that they want to cash in on the merchandising from the musical. Otherwise, why now, all of the sudden? And would this have happened if Ed Friendly were still alive?

    And, most importantly, (and it bears repeating) Laura and Rose would be appalled and that’s why I’m ready to rally ’round!

  7. “Would that be because none other than this Kansas museum is on the site of the book called Little House on the Prairie?”

    LOL. Thank you for saying that. I was just thinking the same thing. Maybe the musical should change its name to Little House in the Big Woods or whichever book tells about Walnut Grove. (My daughter would know.)

    Carolyn

  8. Michelle says:

    It is interesting to note that if the Friendly Family were so interested in reaching a “settlement” they should have remembered one important thing: the LIttle House on the Prairie board, a nonprofit, has not one but two trademarks to the name Little House on the Prairie in connection with their historical site.

    How sad it is when a small historical museum on the prairie, that operates by donations, love and volunteer labor, is sued by a company that has already made and continues to make millions of dollars on rebroadcast rights, distribution rights for DVDs, etc. This lawsuit amounts to a large company bullying a museum that strives to keep history alive in a small Kansas town.

    I too find the timing of this lawsuit interesting.

  9. Dennis D. Picard says:

    Have any of you read about the Lizzie Borden House case that was just settled here in Massachusetts? The court/judge ruled that the Lizzie Borden House in New Bedford – where she really lived and where the ax murders took place – had the right to use its own name over a “museum” in Salem Massachusetts that recently opened using that name – gee ya think to make money off the public’s recognition of the name? Maybe this is a law suite that could be cited in the Little House case. The Salem business has been told to change its name and advertising.

  10. Jean Kurtis Schodorf says:

    Thank you for supporting our museum, the original site of The Little House on the Prairie. I just wanted to correct the statement issued by the attorney for the Friendly Productions. They wrote a letter where they offered$40,000 for the trademarks. In addition, we would have had to change the name of our farm, give them the website, and the trademarks, change our organization name and they would tell us what we could sell at our farm gift shop. We have some cute, nice little souvenirs about Laura and also books so that we can support our museum and pay expenses.

    We wrote the Friendlys a letter saying that we were declining their offer, but we wanted to continue negotiations. They did not respond to our letter to continue to negotiate. However, we did receive a call from an LA attorney who wanted to know if we needed representation in LA. My director, Amy Finney, said no because we were in negotiations with the Friendlys. I asked her to call him back and ask why he had called. which she did. He was the one who told us that we had been sued and a complaint had been filed in federal court in Los Angeles. That is their definition of not wanting to interfere with the maintenance of the museum and also with their continued efforts to work out a settlement.

    Thanks to all of you who care for Laura and her writings. Keep us in your thoughts.
    Jean Kurtis Schodorf

  11. Brant says:

    I have heard that Abigail MacBride is a part-owner of Friendly Family Productions. This would all make sense.

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