For many, Grinch and Who-ville are old holiday traditions, but officials in Louisville, Kentucky found that lawyers can ruin even the best of well-intentioned holiday plans.
The city of Louisville had hoped to include a recreation of the iconic Dr. Seuss village and characters as part of its annual holiday celebration, Light Up Louisville. The plans called for an area called “LouWhoVille,” complete with costumed characters from the Dr. Seuss classic such as Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch.
But the city cancelled the planned Who-ville display after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “It appears these lawyers’ hearts are two sizes too small,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said.
But the cease-and-desist letter from the law firm DLA Piper, which represents Dr. Seuss Enterprises, asserted that the “Who-ville” name and image, as well as the Grinch, are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission. The lawyers denied the city and the Louisville Convention and Visitors’ Bureau permission to any use of the characters for the Christmas display and demanded that there be no use of the characters in the future without permission. It threatened legal action if the city did not comply.
A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said the city complied with the request and renamed the display “Lou-ville.”