RC3, the developers of an app called "Joustin Beaver," have petitioned a Florida district court for a declaratory judgment that the app does not infringe the rights of Justin Bieber. RC3 filed the lawsuit as a preemptive strike in response to a cease and desist letter from Bieber's lawyers. In the lawsuit, RC3 claims that the app is protected speech under the First Amendment because it is a parody of Bieber's celebrity persona:
"The App, a video game, is a parody of the commercial success of the Defendant and any celebrity. The parody app portrays a beaver floating on a log down a river. The beaver presents with bangs, a lance, and a purple sweater. The beaver knocks 'Phot-Hogs' that are attempting to take his photograph into the river with his lance. The beaver also signs 'Otter-graphs.' The beaver also must dodge the 'whirlpool of success,' which will lead beaver out of control, while navigating the river."
Bieber's camp objected to the game on the grounds that it implied a false endorsement by Bieber, and infringed on his rights of publicity (i.e., his image and likeness). If the lawsuit moves forward, the outcome will likely depend on whether Bieber can show that consumers would be confused as to affiliation, sponsorship, or endorsement by Bieber. However, if RC3's parody accomplishes its purpose, consumers will not be confused because they will recognize that "Joustin Beaver" is merely making fun of Justin Bieber. Judge for yourself: