Pig gets Italian’s goat

By Brand Heeler

Children’s favourite Peppa Pig gets sued by an irate Italian

Poor Peppa Pig! She’s only just recovered from being accused of being both potty-mouthed and a feminist socialist, and being threatened with Thai cuisine by Australian Senator Barnaby Joyce. Now she finds herself having to defend her Italian friend, Gabriella Goat, from attack by a human grown-up who really ought to know better. The human in question, one Gabriella Capra, is also Italian so she’ll be only too well aware that her name means Gabriella Goat in her mother tongue. Mind you, it’s always meant that and given that Ms Capra is 40 she has presumably had plenty of time to come to terms with it. But she must be blessed with a circle of friends who are either preternaturally self-controlled or completely humourless because it was apparently only after Peppa went to visit the Goat family in Italy that Ms Capra began to be ‘taunted’, ‘teased’ and ‘made an object of scorn’. Consequently she has decided she is owed €100,000 in compensation from the show’s production company.

Peppa Pig is insanely popular in Italy (and much of the rest of the world) so it looks like Ms Capra is the only one not smiling. Does she have any grounds for her argument? Not in English or Australian law, unless she can point to some specific goodwill in her name which Peppa is eroding or exploiting. You can have personality rights in Italian law, but we reckon Ms Capra would have to come up with some fairly cogent evidence that she’s (a) well-known and (b) suffering real hardship. She’d also have to show that it’s all down to Peppa, and nothing to do with having a somewhat amusing family name.

Ms Capra’s promise to donate the €100,000 to children’s charities may indicate she’s genuine about the hurt she’s feeling, but you don’t need to be Dr Elephant to figure it all sounds pretty cynical. After all, as a brand, Peppa has broken the 1 billion dollar barrier – she’s worth £600m annually, so Gabriella may simply be trying to get her snout into a very goldplated trough. Our advice to Peppa is that the only sensible response to any claim of this sort is to fall about on the floor with your family, waving your legs in the air and oinking hysterically.

This article contains our thoughts and opinions on an issue of general interest and is written from the perspective of Australian and/or English law. It is not legal advice and is not provided in the context of a solicitor-client relationship. It may not even be relevant to your jurisdiction. No duty of care is assumed or accepted. Please carry out appropriate research and consult with a suitably qualified legal expert before taking any action or making any decisions.

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