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Chuck Norris Sues Publisher, Tears Don't Cure Cancer 374

Google85 writes "Chuck Norris sued publisher Penguin on Friday over a book he claims unfairly exploits his famous name, based on a satirical Internet list of "mythical facts" about him. The book capitalizes on "mythical facts" that have been circulating on the Internet since 2005 that poke fun at Norris' tough-guy image and super-human abilities, the suit said."
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Chuck Norris Sues Publisher, Tears Don't Cure Cancer

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  • Does Chuck Norris runs Linux ?
  • by ergean ( 582285 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:05AM (#21797494) Journal
    but Chuck Norris is already there.
    • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:11AM (#21797536)
      Well, if you can't see him you may actually only be moments away from death!

  • by PhearoX ( 1187921 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:11AM (#21797532)
    Yeahhhhhh good luck with suing someone over what is clearly (read: the very *definition* of) satire.

    Satire is one of those things that has been so thoroughly proven to be protected, Chuck is a fool to file suit unless this book reaches the point of slander.
    • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:13AM (#21797550) Journal
      by PhearoX (1187921) Alter Relationship on 09:11 AM December 23rd, 2007
      Chuck is a fool to file suit unless this book reaches the point of slander.

      Please, we should observe a minute of silence for Mr. PhearoX. As, calling Chuck Norris a fool was his last action in this world.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Unless of course its actually true and he wants to keep it secret.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aliquis ( 678370 )
      "Chuck Norris doesn't bend for the law, the law bends for Chuck"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by muindaur ( 925372 )
      Right about the satire but he does have a valid case if you read the article. They are still using his name and likeness without his permission: even though the book is satirical and they can get out of a defamation suit there is still the matter of his image.
      • by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:00AM (#21797838)
        Again, not necessarily: if the use of his image/likeness are clearly an inextricable part of the satire (and thus not some secondary misappropriation), he's probably doomed.

        This is, basically, no different than The Onion including an actual image of Steve Jobs in a fictional article about his latest device conquering the world. It's satire, and Jobs' image is a part of it. Here, the name and image of Chuckles is inextricable from the satire, so it shouldn't be an issue.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          This is, basically, no different than The Onion including an actual image of Steve Jobs in a fictional article about his latest device conquering the world. It's satire, and Jobs' image is a part of it. Here, the name and image of Chuckles is inextricable from the satire, so it shouldn't be an issue.

          I don't think so, because the Onion doesn't publish an all-Jobs book.
          They're using his name and likeness for profit, the fact that they are also using humor doesn't make a difference, IMHO, IANAL, BYOB.

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:36AM (#21798064) Journal

      If you actually knew anything about the story you would know that Chuck Norris never had a problem with the mythical facts satire itself, he even has quoted his favorites on occasion. He is fine with the satire bit. What he is NOT fine with is that this book by Penguin has collected these facts/jokes about him (jokes the author collected, NOT wrote himself) and now published them for profit using his name (a trademark) and likeness.

      I am also not quite sure that original creators of the various facts appreciate having their work printed without getting a share.

      This seems to be a publisher wanting to make a quick buck of someone elses work using someone elses reputation. Somehow I can't see a jury having much sympathy for them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The suit is already won... Penguin just doesn't know it yet.
    • by Perl-Pusher ( 555592 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @12:37PM (#21798442)
      From the article:

      Some of the 'facts' in the book are racist, lewd or portray Mr. Norris as engaged in illegal activities, the lawsuit alleges.

      This is where satire ends and defamation begins. I believe I will trust the courts decision over slashdot posts.
    • by rantingkitten ( 938138 ) <(kitten) (at) (mirrorshades.org)> on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:59PM (#21798968) Homepage
      He's not suing over the jokes. In fact he's always seemed to take them in pretty good humor and I believe he's quoted some of his favorites in interviews before. The satire aspect doesn't appear to be what has Norris in a snit.

      He's suing some guy who took a bunch of jokes other people wrote, and is now trying to turn those jokes into a profitable venture. Satire is one thing, but unauthorized use of a celebrity's name or likeness for profit is something else entirely.

      It may turn out to be protected speech, as there are a lot of gray areas here. For example, I doubt the National Enquirer gets permission from Brad Pitt (for example) every time they run some BS story about him, but they're capitalizing on his name to sell their magazine.

      I guess we'll just have to see what the courts decide, but it's just incorrect to suggest that Norris is suing random people over some jokes. He's never really complained about any of them until the moment someone tried to use his name for profit, and that's really a different bag.

      And, furthermore, you could argue that since every one of the statements about Chuck Norris is completely true, it isn't satire, but an unauthorized biography of his life. :P
  • Reuters suck (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The story is available on countless other sites [google.co.uk] who don't have javascript:goToPage(2); instead of a normal hyperlink.
  • And I already thought the lawsuit over Lady Chatterley's Lover was ridiculous. Oh well, at least it's not the UK government that sued them this time.

    Interesting detail: My web-browser corrected the spelling of Chatterley. Twice. Sheesh.
  • It's satire at worst (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:18AM (#21797588)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire [wikipedia.org]

    Good luck Chuck. To win this case you have to break new legal ground. You could go down in history with SCO for the creativity of your legal claims. You are a public figure. You have honed your tough guy image and profited therefrom. If comics want to satirize your actions and image, you're fair game. Not only that but Chuck Norris jokes have become something like elephant jokes. In that regard they are somewhat generic. In that regard you are in the same unfortunate condition as a company that loses its trademark because it has become generic. Suck it up tough guy.
    • by nametaken ( 610866 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:36AM (#21798066)
      OMG you're so dead.
    • I'd say they're more like "You're momma's so fat" jokes... endless variations on a theme... good fun for all until some drunk guy gets offended and punches you in the face (especially when it's Chuck Norris, who must've been drunk when he filed this suit, so watch out Penguin, don't tell Chuck a fat momma joke during the discovery phase).

      BTW, Did you know the world doesn't really spin? It's just Chuck Norris practicing for the globe trotters tryouts.
    • Yes, satirizing his name and tough guy image is fair game - but using his name and like is not. The line between the two is kinda fuzzy, but it is there.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The USPTO lists a number of trademarks owned by Mr Norris including:

      Chuck Norris is... "The Fact"
      Chuck Norris Facts
      Chuck Norris Approved
      Chuck Norris

      He is as is required by trademark law, defending his trademark in order to prevent it becoming generic. He is concerned that his name is being attached to rascist versions of these jokes. It damages his mark to be assosiated with these unauthorised versions. A trademark is a sign of origin for a customer, he does not want customers to be confused at the origin o
    • "To win this case you have to break new legal ground. "

      not only that, but shouldn't he welcome these jokes? Chuck norris is a washed-up has-been. Maybe these jokes will put him back in the lime-light with the next generation of movie goers, if only to poke fun at his invincible tough guy image.
  • ...because Chuck Norris won't stand for people making money off of other people's jokes! I'm sure the author(s) tracked down the origin of every one of those jokes and gave each one of them a crisp twenty dollar bill in payment.
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:28AM (#21797650) Homepage Journal
    While it's true that parody is fair use, fair use only applies to copyright, not to trademarks.

    The names of famous people are trademarks. If I were to open a restaurant called Chuck Norris' Good Eats, I'd be infringing his trademark, not his copyright.

    This even goes so far that someone else who was not famous, but happened to also be named Chuck Norris could not use his own name as a business name.

    While IANAL, I heard about this on TV, so it must be true.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 )
      Well, it seems to me that parody at least ought to enjoy the same protection against trademarks as it does from copyright -- if anything even more so.

      The purpose of a trademark is to identify goods; the law protects trademarks so that consumers can know whose goods they are buying. If I (being unconnected to MS or Ubuntu whatsoever) marketed a product labeled "Genuine Microsoft Ubuntu", then there are some people who might think that they were buying a Microsoft product which might be more copatible with
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:34AM (#21797678)
    ...generates his own gravitational field.

    ...doesn't bend spoons w/his mind - he shits them out, all shiny and new, as needed.

    ...once completely sucked a man's eyeball clear out of the socket during a fight in the Philippines - optic never and all. He then spit it out into his hand, handed it to the poor bloke and whispered "I'm betting you NEVER look at me the same way ever again, Hector!"

    ...was born a woman, but decided early on he liked the thought of having hair on his back, so he willed himself into becoming the man is he today.

    ...took-off and landed a shot-up Cessna that had lost its landing gear simply by sticking his feet out of the cabin doors.

    ...chewed his own hand off to get out of hand-cuffs during a hostage situation that involved migrating pygmies. He then sewed it back on, using hair off his back as thread and a straightened paper clip - he burned a hole in one end of the paper clip by stacking disposable contacts onto his left eye, while looking at the clip and staring into the Sun.

    ...once rode a motorcycle backwards uphill in the desert for thirty-five miles in the dark...blind-folded. Of course drunk and with a bladder full of oxygenated white wine.

    ...made long distance phone calls in the 1980's using nothing but his vocal cords to hack the tone-controlled switchbanks.

    ...invented OBEs.
    • by kindbud ( 90044 )
      ... lisps when he speaks. Haven't you noticed it, and wondered, where the hell did that come from?

      • ...may have something to do w/being kicked/punched/head-butted in the head/face/jaw/mouth thousands of times, over the last 40 years and that's not counting the bricks, floors, walls, doors and dashboards he has taken t' the face....?

        Or - he had that lisp when young and was teased about it and bullied - he eventually took self-defense lessons, which led to the current fame and fortune.

        Chuck Norris can read:
        ...raw postscript.
        ...all international barcodes.
        ...two separate Morse code streams - one with
  • Come On Guys... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hangtime ( 19526 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:35AM (#21797686) Homepage
    Norris has had good fun with Chuck Norris facts even going as far to cite the ones he liked the most. He has been very hands off when it came to the Internet world. You step over the line when you try to make a book and start selling for a profit. Without his likeness there is no Chuck Norris facts and they can be construed as derogatory. I see no problem here whipping out the lawsuit stick unless the publisher is ready to cut Chuck in for a good portion of the proceeds.
    • I agree. Plus, most of those facts were submitted by people on the Internet who won't be seeing any of the proceeds from the book. I would rather see Chuck Norris get the money than some guy who wants to make a buck off ideas that aren't his.
    • by Dolohov ( 114209 )
      I agree -- on the internet, it's just for fun. Nobody's exploiting his image for profit, they're just poking good-natured fun at him. When some publisher publishes a book of "Chuck Norris Facts", some of whom really do make him look bad, all the context goes away. The publisher is simply exploiting Norris and his fans at this point, trying to make a quick buck on someone else's name and other peoples' work.
    • I agree... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DG ( 989 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:35AM (#21798054) Homepage Journal
      My take on this is that Chuck isn't so much looking for a cut of the proceeds, but objects to the idea of somebody taking an Internet meme and attempting to sell it.

      If that is the case, I'm behind him 100%.

      Not that Chuck needs my support...

  • I guess.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by deepershade ( 994429 )
    ..chuck norris can do everything except take a joke :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Pffft. Chuck Norris takes whatever he wants, including jokes.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )
      I guess you are wrong : Chick Norris [google.com] on Chuck norris.
    • He did take it well.
      Norris even cited the facts he likes best.
      But they are not publishing the book as some joke, these are not a bunch of teens that happen to like Norris jokes and just give out copies of their collection.
      It's a bunch of businessmen, that are about to make good money on the back of Norris and the people that wrote all those jokes.
  • Really, income from this wave of Chuck Norris jokes is about all he's got left, give the man his cut from the book sales and move on.
  • The sad thing.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:04AM (#21797876)
    is he has become a joke but unlike most of the Hollywood hero types he is the real deal. He's won more Karate championships than anyone and is a legitimate star athlete in the sport. His films were rarely all that serious other than maybe the one with Bruce Lee. He had fun making some silly movies and an even sillier TV series but it's sad it's damaged his name. He's not an actor and has terrible tastes in what projects he's taken on. He's made a lot of money at it and not really harmed anyone along the way, with his films and TV series anyway, so I say more power to him. He worked hard for his name for better or worse so he has the right to protect it. It's just too bad he'll be remembered as a third rate action hero instead of the world class athlete he is.
  • Well geez, Chuck Norris suing somebody pretty much destroys the tough guy image. I've read the online "facts" before and I'm pretty sure there aren't any that approach, "When Chuck Norris gets mad, he sues."
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:28AM (#21798022) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me, or are other people getting kind of sick of providing all the material for someone else to make money from? I know Norris will lose this, and rightly so, but I'm just getting a bit tired off all the pricks capitalizing on our creativity. Off topic, I know....
    • /. is making AD revenue off page views including your comment. And then some people even pay, and then post comments, so that /. is making money off them directly and then from the content they might provide.
      • by svunt ( 916464 )
        Yes, yes it is. Very good point. I guess I don't think of /. that way because I can't see the ads and don't subscribe. It also seems less obviously profit-motivated as Digg, for example. It's a tricky area, as any line you draw is arbitrary, and people do need to make a living, and be rewarded for their hard work and/or innovation. That still doesn't make it *feel* right. I'm just venting, really.
  • ... will be if he can go back in time and relive his life so that he does not end up a washed-up, litigious, witless never-was whose only real claim to fame was getting beaten up by Bruce Lee in a bad Bruce Lee movie.

  • Sorry, chucky boy.. but satire is considered fair use.

    Be happy someone still cares enough to use your name, considering you are pretty much a has-been at this point.
  • by quick2think ( 833211 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:49AM (#21798134)
    When Chuck Norris sues, he brings the verdict, not the charges.
  • Why doesn't he just go and kick their butts?? He is Chuck Norris after all.
  • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:54AM (#21798160)

    I was reading up on the gent IMDB [imdb.com] and it would seem there is this bit of trivia

    Alleged Chuck Norris Fact: "Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. Too bad he never cries. Ever." There was a man whose tears could cure cancer or any other disease, including the real cause of all diseases - sin. His blood did. His name was Jesus, not Chuck Norris. If your soul needs healing, the prescription you need is not Chuck Norris' tears, it's Jesus' blood.

    In the past it would seem Mr. Norris took "facts" about him very lightly and even commented on his favorites. But to someone who's strongly religious it's often pretty offensive to suggest they are some sort of prophet or have some supernatural ability.

  • ...he doesn't need lawyers. He's his own lawyer, defendant, and prosecutor.
  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:00PM (#21798582)
    Notice how Chuck and his lawyers haven't made a peep about this until someone tried to cash in on an Internet phenomenon. Someone is trying to make a quick buck out of Chuck Norris' fame (i.e. his likeness) without his permission.
  • Bill Brasky! (Score:3, Informative)

    by nmx ( 63250 ) <nmxNO@SPAMfromtheshadows.net> on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:10PM (#21799036) Homepage
    If anyone should sue, it's NBC. Half of the "Chuck Norris" jokes are really "Bill Brasky" jokes - in fact the whole meme is a ripoff of those sketches from the late 90's.
  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:21PM (#21799096) Homepage
    Had they instead tried to release a book based on the
    Bruce Schneier Facts [geekz.co.uk], when they tried to print it they'd have discovered the text was encrypted.
  • by wk633 ( 442820 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:48PM (#21799276)
    Chuck can have his roundhouse kicks. Bruce Schneier is the /. role model of choice.

    http://geekz.co.uk/schneierfacts/fact/921/ [geekz.co.uk]
  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @05:40PM (#21800478) Journal
    Here's how the conversation at the publisher must have gone:

    "Hey, Jim, did you see this funny Chuck Norris shit on the internet?"
    "Yeah Bob, I did, it's funny shit. Let's turn it into a book and sell it!"
    "Awesome, it will be the best Chuck Norris book ever! Hey, do you think we should ask Chuck Norris if we can publish a Chuck Norris book?"
    "Nah, fuck him, what's he gonna do?"

    (sadly, these were the last words Jim and Bob ever spoke. Bob blinks that he's very, very sorry. The doctors think Jim is blinking too, but no-one wants to look into his arse to find out.)
  • by sgage ( 109086 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @10:46PM (#21802376)
    Who the hell cares about Chuck Norris? What the hell is this doing on Slashdot? This is ridiculous.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.