Inspired 21st century take on ‘Peanuts’ shut down by copyright owner

The last thing you’d expect Charlie Brown and Lucy to ponder is how much (if any) information fictional “Terminator” AI Skynet could glean from the collective Internet, or for Linus to contemplate the thematic origins of Jay-Z’s hit single “99 Problems.” A fresh and funny digital age take on the classic “Peanuts” comic strip, Peanutweeter did just that – merging humorous tweets with Charles Schultz’s iconic artwork.

Note the past tense.

As of press time, the site is deceased – murdered by a copyright violation complaint.

Inspired 21st century take on 'Peanuts' shut down by copyright owner

Jason Agnello, the creator of Peanutweeter, posted the letter sent to Tumblr (the site’s host, who then forwarded it to him) by Ionix Brand Group, which counts Peanuts Worldwide LLC as a subsidiary.

“It has come to our attention that your company is hosting content that infringes on at least one copyright owned by Peanuts Worldwide, LLC,” reads the statement. “This letter is official notification that and request under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to remove the Infringing Material from your servers.”

Many have speculated that Peanutweeter rests under the safety of the “Fair Use” umbrella. Maybe, but Agnello has stated that he doesn’t have “the means nor the desire” to fight a legal battle over that slippery supposition.

TechDirt points out the success of “Garfield Minus Garfield” – which offers Garfield-less comic strips that essentially paint Jon Arbuckle as a crazy person – as a counter to how these types of legal brouhahas can go. With that simple, funny and potentially litigious concept, humorist Dan Walsh managed to receive the blessing of “Garfield” creator Jim Davis and a book deal.

Agnello remains grateful for the few weeks he was able to entertain readers, but believes his work will be “all but forgotten” just as quickly.

As for future Fair Use improvisers avoiding a similar predicament, Agnello says it’s possible, but only under specific circumstances. “Someone with notoriety and a voice people are willing to hear could make a real stand for creators of Fair Use content,” he said. “Only then will people pay attention.” (Via TechDirt)