When DC Thomson got wind of a planned Labour Party poster featuring the Tory leader as the comic world’s biggest cow pie fan, the Dundee publishers were not amused.
Topic: Intellectual property
Who: DC Thomson and the Labour Party
Where: The UK
When: October 2004
Beano and Dandy publisher DC Thomson of Dundee got wind of a Labour Party plan to use an image of Desperate Dan in a party political poster. The plan apparently was to superimpose the face of Tory Party leader Michael Howard on Desperate Dan's body with the slogan "Desperate Man".
DC Thomson moved swiftly into action and made it clear to the Labour Party that it did not approve of this unauthorised use of their copyright material, for which no consent had been sought.
The Labour Party backed down and gave an assurance that they would not continue with their plans.
Why this matters:
Although party political advertising is no longer covered by the CAP Code of advertising, direct marketing and sales promotion, it is not immune from the laws of intellectual property, as this case shows.
A more recent development also emphasises that Beano and Dandy are not immune from similar laws. It has recently been reported that DC Thomson decided to scrap an entire 200,000 print run of an issue of Beano for fear it would offend Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. A character in the one strip named Henry Thierry bore an unflattering resemblance to the Premiership's top scorer and in the event DC Thomson decided discretion was the better part of valour and produced a new issue with a replacement story.