The Phillie Phanatic Legal Battle is Over

via Phillies

After a lengthy and admittedly-sometimes-confusing legal battle, the Philadelphia Phillies reached a settlement with the creators of the Phanatic.

Matt Breen at The Philadelphia Inquirer with details: 

The old Phillie Phanatic will soon be the new Phillie Phanatic as the Phillies will be permitted to again use the original version of their famous mascot after finalizing the settlement of a lawsuit on Monday.

The settlement, which included the Phillies paying an undisclosed amount of money to the creators, allows the Phillies to now use either the new or old Phanatic. The team did not comment but all signs point to them bringing the old costume back to South Philly.

The whole thing was a little difficult to understand for feeble sports writer minds. Not Matt, I’m talking people like me and Russ.

The CliffsNotes version is basically that the Phillies believed they had license to use the mascot perpetually, while creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison claimed a legal right to take back their copyrighted work after 35 years. There’s a wrinkle in federal law that allows artists to renegotiate their work after this amount of time.

So what happened is that the Phillies created an alternate version of the Phanatic, which had some tweaks like a blue tail, scales, and shit like that. A magistrate judge looked over these changes and ruled that they were passable because they fell within something call the “Derivative Works Exception,” which is a part of the Copyright Act. Erickson and Harrison, via a lawyer’s response, more or less thought that part of the ruling was bullshit, but ultimately the situation was resolved exactly how we expected, with one party throwing a bunch of cash at the other.

All you need to know is that the old Phanatic is back.