Nancy at Pioneer Girl strikes again — and in a big way. She’s sleuthed out the legal complaint filed by Friendly Family Productions against Independence and has posted it on her web site. It’s 31 pages, and it’s eye-opening. Thank you, Nancy.
Bill Kurtis is a class act. Bill Kurtis is funny. Bill Kurtis is the subject of this article in the Chicago Tribune. It’s a good read anyway, but make sure you read until the end for Info on the lawsuit tucked on the second page. Excerpt:
“The Kansas museum is flouting the law,” says Trip Friendly, head of Friendly Family Productions. “They will tell you they are only operating a small museum in Kansas, but the fact is that Mr. Kurtis and his sister are running a vigorous retail store on the Internet … selling a wide variety of unauthorized merchandise bearing the Little House on the Prairie mark.”
This post from BlogHer blogger Megan led me to an interesting commentary on the legal ramifications of the Friendly Family Productions lawsuit. A commenter also mentions the recent Lizzie Borden case in Massachusetts, which Only Laura reader Dennis brought up as soon as the story hit the news. Although not quite the David-and-Goliath story of the Little House on the Prairie lawsuit, let’s hope someone is paying attention to that precedent.
A legal defense fund is being set up for the Little House on the Prairie Museum. More to come.
Late last week, the lawsuit made National Public Radio. Listen here.
(It’s just a two-minute segment.)
Jean Schodorf is Bill Kurtis’ sister and part-owner of the Little House site outside of Independence. I’m moving her comment to the top of the blog so no one will miss it.
And for the record? The original Little House on the Prairie has an excellent gift shop, well laid out and full of stuff you wouldn’t necessarily expect. I’m not one of those fans who has to have absolutely everything — God help my storage space if I were — but I still managed to leave with a couple bags full on my last visit. Good stuff.
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
The latest stories, all of which stem from a Chicago Tribune story, have Bill Kurtis weighing in on the lawsuit. Not much new other than his quote.