copyrighted bunny girls

ANS has a brief commentary on why Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya hasn’t been licensed yet. Reasons include everything from bidding war to “Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire happens to own the registered trademark to the traditional bunny girl costume in America.” All I can say is if you can’t have Haruhi and Mikuru in a bunny girl outfit, don’t bother bringing the show over the US. The last thing I want to see is a Haruhi DVD release by Funimation that features her in her new panda girl outfit. Okay, I lied. The last thing I want to see is Man-Haruhi doing pr0n. Still, I consider this an example of copyright law run amuck.

21 Responses to “copyrighted bunny girls”

  1. In that case, Playboy should license Haruhi, and distribute it with the magazine. It will be a new revolution like the first edition of Playboy.

    Playboy mansion won’t need to change a lot to cosplay Haruhi and Mikuru.

    In the end it will make everyone happy.

  2. *hoping for a KyotoAni nekomimi girl remix*

  3. Nekomimi girls? Well, KyoAni is making ‘Lucky Star‘ after Kanon2006. Never heard of it before, but the characters look as though they might qualify for Nekomimi cosplay.


  4. Ridiculous as heck, but copyright / patent law has been broken for so long now it’s not even funny.

  5. I’m with waista, good opportunity to fix the single lonely flaw of SHNY – no nekomimi

  6. Maybe they can work some sort of deal involving Aya Hirano posing for Playboy wearing (or not) a bunny suit.


  7. Evidentally, this anime will make it into the US. Because it’s “hot in Japan.”

    The pic I found over in Danbooru of Haruhi having a “Johnson” and spraying her “John-sause” over the Comiket building is frightening proof enough. -_-;

  8. WTF. The only alternative to the bunny girl costume I will accept is having on no costume at all!!! Hmm…

  9. Nemo, I am with you a 100% XD I wil add to it with Mikuru’s va with Aya Hirano doing a double layout in Playboy XXXD

  10. Buny girl liscense problem is BS. Watch the simpsons, they have plenty of bunny costumed ladies when they spoof playboy and other porn stuff. Even Family Guy does that, it’s nothing new.

  11. I agree that the Playboy copyright probably isn’t a big issue, but it’s worth noting that programs like The Family Guy have better claim to the parody exception under the fair use doctrine.

  12. there were a bunch cases where bunny girl in anime get changed/edited out due to this problem though

  13. What about FLCL? She dressed up in a bunny costume there, and I never heard of any playboy problems that time.

  14. One thing is that most of the ones getting by the copyright issue were very similar to the playboy constume, and it could be demonstrated that generic bunny constumes have existed independantly of and prior to Playboy. But the ones worn by Haruhi (and Mikuru) are *exact* copies, down to the collar and cuffs. Frankly, I think they could get around it if Playboy agreed to let them license the appearance for a very nominal fee and a blurb in the end credits. Win-win for both sides. The issue would be how prominent the acknowlegement would be — the licensee might prefer to avoid the chance of getting picked on by some religious or parenting group. Or they might relish the publicity. Who knows?

  15. extraclassiclite, assuming this is true and not just publicity bullshit, why do you think the producers of Family Guy or The Simpsons, didn’t pay license fees? Maybe they didn’t have to because they asked Hefner and he said it’s alright.

    I’ve read such stuff in similar contexts. For example, some people don’t grasp that you have to pay license fees if you create a cover version of some song. Those artists don’t steal anything – neither in the literal nor in the figurative sense. Sometimes the original artist doesn’t demand any fees but sometimes they even neglect to permit a cover version. In other words, the entertainment business is pretty tough with respect to laws. Common sense alone gets you straight into jail or bankrupt at the very least.

    Oh and this is not about copyright at all. It’s about trademark. Trademarks do not expire ever as long as the trademark holder keeps using it. So even in 20000 years in the future, Playboy Inc. can still say “nay” to Haruhi in a bunny suit.

    That said, I really suspect this is bullshit because these are far from being “exact copies” and I’ve never heard of such simple customs being trademark- or copyright-worth. Don’t forget though US laws work like “sue first, think later” and the richer one wins.

  16. I ran a quick search through the United States Patent/Trademark office, and it looks like the the registration on the bunny girl uniform hasn’t been renewed – cancelled in ’04. What’s live is the registration for the term “bunny girl”. Even if I’m reading that wrong (highly likely), Ubu is right in that they should be able to strike a deal. Maybe remove the cuffs and bowtie?

    No bunny girl costume, no Haruhi. Who hands out flyers and holds up signs in front of stores wearing “cocktail-waitress dresses”. I mean really! Retouching can only go so far.

  17. Bunny Girl is absolutely not a problem. A group of swimsuits available to Tina in DOAX are bunny girl uniforms.

  18. That’s like saying shop-lifting was legal because you weren’t caught. Do you think Playboy Inc. is able to check all computer games in the world for bunny girl suits? Also limited use of another’s trademark might easily be considered fair use and protected by freedom of speech.

  19. DOAX is a whole hell of a lot more “high profile” than MoHS ever will be, yet Playboy never resorted to suing Tecmo over the use of the Bunny Girl uniform. Same goes for Square-Enix and Dragon Quest VIII.

    I think it’ll be safe to assume this issue is of no concern to anyone.

  20. Trust me, there are people which have never heard of those and this has little to do with stupidity or anything else. Any TV show is magnitudes more high profile than a computer game unless the vendor gets sued for the game. The only computer games widely known off are Doom and GTA – well a few more but really not much. You really live in a parallel world if you assume many people over 30 have ever heard of any games published in the last 5 years. Also games are after all *mostly* for kids whereas the Playboy magazine is *mostly* for adults. In Japan things may be very different with respect to these thing of course.

    Maybe I’ll ask just Playboy Inc. whether they have any problem with Haruhi wearing a bunny suit and whether they demand license fees. Don’t blame me though, if they hear about this for the first time just because of my mail.

  21. Chris, you have proven to me that you are beyond stupid.

    DOAX carries an M rating. Meaning it was not made for kids. And Playboy did a feature on video games a couple years ago. Guess what game happened to be included, DOAX. Plus, DOAX sold well enough to warrant a sequel. In fact, more copies of DOAX have probably been sold in North America than MoHS ever will.

    Not only does Playboy know about the existence of DOAX, but they also choose to do nothing about it.

Leave a Reply