This page used to house "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Watch," the most popular of my WebParodies. Mr. Rogers's attorneys didn't like it one bit, and tried scaring the parody off the web by rattling their legal sabers at me and at GeoCities, to no avail: The content of the parody fell clearly within the "fair use" doctrine of U.S. Copyright law, and I wasn't about to let it get bullied offline (and had even dusted off my J.D. in preparation for an interesting pro se legal battle).|
But I'm also not a guy who defines his life only in terms of legal rights and obligations: If (as I mentioned to them) Fred were to let me know that he didn't like the site, I would voluntarily remove it out of respect and affection for him. So, a while later, I received this cursory letter (almost certainly drafted by the aforementioned attorneys) co-signed by Fred Rogers, asking me to take it down.
I'm extremely disappointed that Fred Rogers felt that way and demonstrated so little humor, especially given that I had taken pains to keep the parody from being indecent or offensive. But, hey, I had given my word, and I do genuinely esteem Fred Rogers (whose television Neighborhood I visited for countless hours when I was a young boy). So, I took the site down. In my interior, psychic battle between the macho lawyer persona and the demands of the Sermon on the Mount, the latter won. And I suppose that Fred's gentle, formative influence might have had something to do with that...