Elmo Shropshire may end up in court just in time for the Christmas holidays after he was sued for interfering with a $1 million-plus sales deal. The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeks $2 million in damages from Shropshire.
Both parties though are quite familiar with each other it seems. Shropshire, who lives north of San Francisco in Novata, holds the rights to the now popular Christmas song,"Grandma got run over by a reindeer" that first hit the airwaves in 1979. The Fred Rappoport Company of California has already sued and settled in court in a 2004 court battle with Shropshire. In that decision Rappoport claims they get the rights to use the song in connection with any products they sell related to the 2000 animated TV program based on the song.
Shropshire they claim, sent out two cease-and-desist letters to two companies who had deals with Rappoport to market products featuring the characters. Shropshire contends that he owns the copyright to the song that preceeded the cartoon by 20 years and he is only defending his rights. He adds that Rappoport can use any of the characters from the cartoon for whatever products they are marketing, he just can't use the song without his permission.
Shropshire contends as well that there are a number of companies that license the song from him to make CD's or toys and it isn't fair to them. They are paying for the use of the song and Rappoport is using it for free.
Who would have known that poor "Grandma" would be so popular as to create such a tug of war over the use?