Cartoon Characters Subpoenaed

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Last Friday, a court in Naples, Italy, sent trial subpoenas to Mickey Mouse, Tweety, and Donald and Daisy Duck, in what appears to have been a clerical error.

The defendant awaiting trial there is charged with counterfeiting Disney and Warner Brothers products.  Apparently, court clerks included on the witness list not only the companies’ legal representatives, but also their imaginary ones: "Topolino," "Paperino," "Paperina," and "Titti" (that’s apparently Tweety in Italian).  A summons went out to each of those cartoon characters care of Disney Italia.

A Disney Italia representative said none of the characters would be appearing at trial.  "Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," said Fiorenza Sorotto, a vice-president of the company.  Hey, smart guy — according to this website, the Disney characters can be easily located at Disneyland Paris, which should give a court in the European Union at least transient jurisdiction over these jokers.  If they don’t want to get served, they shouldn’t be walking down Main Street U.S.A. in broad daylight.

Also, I’m a little suspicious of "Goofy Father Christmas," but I guess he hasn’t been indicted yet.

Sorotto continued, "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that’s what we try to do."  Really?  You try to convince Italians that a six-foot duck wearing a top hat is real?  Well, then, congratulations.

A Disney lawyer said that the summons would have to be reissued, delaying the trial.  She expressed confidence that none of the characters would be prosecuted for failure to appear.

Link: CBS News