The law is a strange beast, and it should come as no surprise that there is an abundance of unusual stories and ridiculous cases. Here are just a few…
Catching Some Rays
In Spain, a woman has claimed ownership of the sun. A treaty relating to space prevents governments from claiming ownership of celestial bodies, but is silent on individuals. She intends to split the profits from her ‘sun tax’ with researchers, pension funds, the government of Spain, and organisations working to end world hunger, but will keep 10% for herself.
A Canadian woman is suing a truck driver, after a car accident left her unable to keep up with her Facebooking. She alleges that the injuries from the accident not only prevented her from working, but also from maintaining a social media presence.
In France, five Michael Jackson fans successfully sued his doctor for emotional damage caused by the singer’s death. The plaintiffs received 1Euro in symbolic damages, and hope the ruling will help them gain access to the singer’s gravesite, which is not open to the public.
Christmas Cheer all Year
In 2012 a man who carried out charitable and business activities in the persona of ‘Santa Claus’ was allowed to change his name to Santa Claus. A Utah court permitted the name change on the basis that it would allow him to better fulfill those activities and because there was no sufficient likelihood of confusion, mischief or misunderstanding. Plus he already called himself Santa Claus anyway.
The Lion King
After the Lion King was released a hyena researcher unsuccessfully sued Disney, claiming that the film’s portrayal of hyenas was defamatory. The researcher feared that their portrayal as evil and villainous animals would jeopardize efforts to preserve hyena populations.
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