houghton mifflin company

RPDR: Snatch Game and Copyright Issues

So people have been asking why RPDR contestants cannot perform as fictional characters on the Snatch Game. RuPaul has clarified why the queens cannot.

The reason why Max couldn’t do Miranda Sings (like she did it on her audition tape)

is the same reason Acid Betty couldn’t do Pepper from American Horror Story.

Originally posted by ahslove15

Even Raven came dressed as the Evil Queen from Snow White for Season 2′s reunion special but was told by the production team she had to get a new outfit to wear. Why? Because all those characters are copyrighted and come cases are probably trademarked.

Copyright Protection provides the owner exclusive rights to use, copy and adapt the fictional characters, as well as other related rights, subject only to copyright defenses such as fair use or expiration. Trademark Law may protect the names, physical appearance, catchphrases, and certain other elements of fictional characters, provided that they are used on goods or services, identify and distinguish the source of the goods or services from those of others, and are either inherently distinctive or have acquired secondary meaning (i.e., meaning in the consuming public’s mind as a source identifier for the relevant goods or services).

Even when Raja played Tyra, they had to blur out the official Tyra Show logo shirt she was wearing…because the show would have had to pay for it. Pretty much anytime you see parts of their clothes or hats blurred or covered, it’s because it has a trademarked logo they do not want to pay to air.

For example, if you purchase an authorized Darth Vader costume or toy lightsaber, you know the source, directly or via license, is from either Lucasfilm or Disney. Trademark protection of a fictional character provides the owner with the exclusive right to use the character in connection with goods and services, as well as the right to prevent the unauthorized use of the character in connection with goods and services of infringing third parties.

So, if hypothetically, a queen wanted to perform as Madea on Snatch Game, Tyler Perry could see it, and either hate what the queen has done with his character or just want to deter other people from using the character, Perry could sue RuPaul, World of Wonder, and Viacom (the parent company of Logo TV). 

Also, there is no “be sure you’re in the clear” for using copyrighted characters unless you have gotten express written permission from the copyright holder first. One issue with copyright violation is that if somebody wants to argue it in front of a judge, they can do so. Even if you’ve done the most parodyish thing and stamped “this is a parody” all over it, the copyright holder can still sue. Weird Al Yankovic still asks for permission to use songs he wants to , even though he is the poster child for parody.

Parodies are not free from legal issues or prosecution. The estate of Margaret Mitchell sued author Alice Randall and her publishing company, Houghton Mifflin, on the grounds that Randall’s novel, The Wind Done Gone was too similar to Margaret Mithcell’s Gone with the Wind, thus infringing its copyright. The case attracted numerous comments from leading scholars, authors, and activists, regarding what Mitchell’s attitudes would have been and how much The Wind Done Gone copies from its predecessor. The cover of the book bears a seal identifying it as “The Unauthorized Parody.” It is parody in the broad legal sense: a work that comments on or criticizes a prior work.

And even when the queens do portray actors, they specifically have to say that they are portraying said actor. So when BenDeLaCreme portrayed “ Dame Maggie Smith” Ben was Dame Maggie, even if she was really impersonating the Dowager Countess character from Downton Abbey.

Drag Race would have to lawyer up, but doing what they want without asking permission first is still leaving them open to having to prove said parody in court. Even if their lawyer says that they’ve got a 100% chance of winning in court, you still have to go through the effort and expense of appearing in court to do so.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Tom Robbins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976. First edition, first printing. Original dust jacket.

“Women live longer than men because they really haven’t been living. Better blue-in-the-face dead of a heart attack at fifty than a healthy seventy-year old widow who hasn’t had a piece of life’s action since girlhood.”


The Joy of Bats

Bats are good neighbors, and the bat biologist Merlin Tuttle is their public-relations man. He calls them “sophisticated, beautiful, even cute.” 

In the late seventies, Tuttle was asked to write a chapter about bats for the National Geographic book “Wild Animals of North America.” When looking at photographs with his editor, he came to realize that many existing photographs of bats, which often showed them “snarling in self-defense, with bared teeth,” perpetuated their unpleasant image. He decided to take bat photographs himself, so that people could see bats eating, sleeping, and hunting insects.

Read more about Tuttle’s bat-centric adventures on newyorker.com.

Photographs by Merlin Tuttle / Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Random early modern resources Part 5:

Robert Armin and Shakspeare’s Fools

  1. Astington, John H. “The Succession of Sots, or Fools and Their Fathers.” Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England 20 (2007): 225-235.
  2. Baldwin, T. W. “Shakespeare’s Jester: The Dates of Much Ado and As You Like It.” Modern Language Notes 39 (1924): 447-455.
  3. Cerasano, S. P. “The Chamberlain’s—King’s Men” in A Companion to Shakespeare, edited by David Scott Kastan, 328-345. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999.
  4. Crane, Mary Thomas. “Linguistic Change, Theatrical Practice, and the Ideologies of Status in ‘As You Like It.’” English Literary Renaissance 27 (1997): 361-392.
  5. Denkinger, Emma Marshall. “Actors’ Names in the Registers of St. Bodolph Aldgate.” PMLA 41 (1926): 91-109.
  6. Felver, Charles S. “Robert Armin, Shakespeare’s Source for Touchstone.” Shakespeare Quarterly 7 (1956): 135-7.
  7. Frazer, Winifred. “A Renaissance Scene-Stealer,” PMLA 108 (1993): 335.
  8. Hornback, Robert. The English Clown Tradition from the Middle Ages to Shakespeare. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2009.
  9. Hotson, Leslie. Shakespeare’s Motley. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1952.
  10. Kathman, David. “Grocers, Goldsmitsh, and Drapers: Freemen and Apprentices in the Elizabethan Theater.” Shakespeare Quarterly 55 (2004): 1-49.
  11. Knutson, Roslyn L. “Filling Fare: The Appetite for Current Issues and Traditional Forms in the Repertory of the Chamberlain’s Men.” Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England 15 (2003): 57-76.
  12. Knutson, Roslyn L. “Shakespeare’s Repertory” in A Companion to Shakespeare, edited by David Scott Kastan, 346-361. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999.
  13. Lippincott, H. F. “King Lear and the Fools of Robert Armin.” Shakespeare Quarterly 26 (1975): 243-53.
  14. Palmer, John. Comic Characters of Shakespeare. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1946.
  15. Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition. Edited by G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.
  16. Shapiro, James. 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear. London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 2015.
  17. Skura, Meredith Anne. Shakespeare the Actor and the Purposes of Playing. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  18. Syme, Holger Schott. “The Theater of Shakespeare’s Time,” in The Norton Shakespeare (Digital Edition), 3rd Edition, edited by Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, and Katherine Eisaman Maus. W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. VitalBook file.
  19. Streitberger, W. R. “Personnel and Professionalization” in A New History of Early English Theatre, edited by John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan, 337-355. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  20. Thomson, Peter. “Rogues and Rhetoricians: Acting Styles in Early English Drama” in A New History of Early English Theatre, edited by John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan, 321-335. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Willa Sibert Cather (December 7, 1873 – April 24, 1947) 

American writer who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Ántonia (1918). In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Cover  and illustrations from My Ántonia By Willa Sibert Cather. With Illustrations by W. T. Brenda. Boston and new York: Houghton Mifflin Company. The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1918.

The Kindergarten Children’s Hour, edited by Lucy Wheelock in five volumes. Illustrated.
Volume I : Story for Little Children, compiled by Susan S. Harriman.
Houghton Mifflin Company,
Boston, New York.

The Little Land, by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Esther Brock.

“Straight I’ll board that tiny boat
Round the rain-pool sea to float”

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. East block of Park and Lexington Avenues between 49th to 50th Streets. Schultze & Weaver, 1929-1931.

View looking southeast of the 47-story Waldorf-Astoria Hotel from the top of DuMont Building in 1934. The Chrysler Building (William Van Allen, 1930) are visible on the right.

Photo: Unknown.

Source: Look Magazine editors. “Look at America. New York City”. (Cambridge, The Riverside Press, Houghton Mifflin Company. 1948).

The Romance of a Christmas Card. Kate Douglas Wiggin. Boston, New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1915. First edition.

“My door is on the latch tonight, The hearth fire is aglow. I seem to hear swift passing feet – The Christ Child in the snow.” Reba, the minister’s new wife, was spirited, vigorous, courageous, and clever. She was also invincibly, incurably happy – so that the minister seemed to grow younger every year.


Humphry Repton (21 April 1752 – 24 March 1818)

 "The last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century.” (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Frontispiece “View from Repton’s Cottage in Essex” (before and after) and title page from The Art of Landscape Gardening By Humphry Repton Esq. Including his sketches and hints on landscape gardening and theory and practice of landscape gardening. Edited by John Nolen, A.M. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1907.  

I love how in the ‘before’ picture there is a one eyed, one armed, one legged man, in the ‘after’ picture, he’s not there! . Voila! Landscape improved!


William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850)

English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: 1.-3. Poem ‘I Wandered lonely as a Cloud’, frontispiece “W. Wordsworth. W. Boxall pinxt. J. B. Longacre Sc.”, and cover detail from The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth: Together with a Description of the Country of the Lakes in the North of England, now first published with his works. Edited by Henry Reed. Philadelphia: Kay & Troutman. Pittsburgh: C. H. Kay. 1846.  4.-6. Poem ‘My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold’, title page detail “Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s Home”, and frontispiece from The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. Cambridge Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. The Riverside Press Cambridge. 1904.

The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
With illustrations and designs by Frederic Remington (1861-1909), Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) and N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945).
Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company.

Among the Exiles many believed that the summit of the Meneltarma, the Pillar of Heaven, was not drowned for ever, but rose again above the waves, a lonely island lost in the great waters; for it had been a hallowed place, and even in the days of Sauron none had defiled it.
—  Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Silmarillion. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.) 291. (Akallabeth)

I have stumbled upon this quote a while ago and this is the best I found so far regarding the source. The oldest known quote in English mentions ‘dung’ instead of 'earth’, which means that during the Internet era someone modified that part and made it into this version. Who made that slight modification originally, remains a mystery. But he made the idea behind the proverb far more viral than it would be.
In 1978 “The Seven Mysteries of Life” by Guy Murchie was published. The book stated that “Most of the matter in the universe in fact is now known to pass at some time through the caldron of the stars.” Murchie included an intriguing adage that he labeled an “ancient Serbian proverb”.
'When you can really grasp the universality of such relationships you have gained a new insight into the ancient Serbian proverb: “Be humble for you are made of dung. Be noble for you are made of stars.“
1981 (Paperback reprint of original 1978 hardback), The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration in Science & Philosophy by Guy Murchie, Quote Page 402, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
I have yet to find this quote in Serbian, if it is in fact Serbian. 

Another version attributed to Saint Nikolai Velimirovich / Николај Велимировић  “Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.”

If you have more information please share :)