CBS is being sued over a farting hippo featured in some of the episodes of its long-running NCIS series. No, you're not reading The Onion; you're still here at the Redline.
CBS Broadcasting is alleged to have violated copyright by selling a farting hippo puppet featured on more than a dozen episodes of NCIS.
Folkmanis Inc. produces the stuffed hippo, known as Bert the hippo on the tv show, and which they refer to as a "soft sculptural work". CBS sells Bert the hippo stuff on its CBS Store site, and Folkmanis wants a, um, "cut".
No word yet on whether the farts constitute non-copyrightable matter, a work-for-hire, or just maybe, fair use under the First Amendment, but a CBS spokesperson responds, "“We believe this to be a flatulent abuse of the legal system, and we intend to clear the air on this matter immediately.”
Just another First-World problem. You can see why we need more lawyers in this country.