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Coca-Cola Sued for Copyright Infringement of Uncle Remus Stories


Written on June 30, 2008 at 10:32 am, by Sue

From the mailroom–

In 1931 the widow of Joel Chandler Harris sued Coca-Cola for infringing upon the Brer Rabbit “copyright.”

Atlanta Journal Reports that Coca Cola Responds to Uncle Remus Lawsuit

Click the pictures for a better view.  Please pardon the cut-and-paste…the clippings came from someone’s scrapbook and weren’t easily scanned together.

Atlanta Journal Reports that Coca Cola Responds to Uncle Remus Lawsuit in 1931

Slow news day, maybe?

I wonder if Mrs. Harris was upset or short on cash.  Probably both, I suppose.

As you might expect, back in the day the success of the Brer Rabbit stories led many companies to to capitalize on the names “Uncle Remus” or “Brer Rabbit” or “Briar Patch.”

Often, the spirit of the branding was, well, not terribly respectful:

Uncle Remus Brand Syrup

Before someone sent me this news clipping, I hadn’t heard of the Coca-Cola lawsuit.

Does anyone out there have any Brer Rabbit – Uncle Remus – Coca-Cola memorabilia?

5 Comments to Coca-Cola Sued for Copyright Infringement of Uncle Remus Stories

  1. Ida Beth says:

    Looks like we don’t have to worry about using the A.B.Frost illustrations according to the article.

    Tell me she won the case and you just found the 10 million in the attic.

  2. Benjy says:

    When I was a kid, my brother and I spelled out “C O C A C O L A” in bottle caps off of coke bottles, and we got to exchange them for a t-shirt that read “Coke… this is it!” Now, I’m not a professional linguist, but if “This is it” isn’t a direct rip off of “Dis sho’ am good,” I don’t know what is.

    I also think it’s interesting that the Uncle Remus character is holding a can of syrup with a picture of himself holding a can of syrup with a picture of himself holding… well, you get the idea. It’s like back2thefuture or 18again or freakyfriday or something.

  3. […] Last week we discovered that Esther LaRose Harris, widow of Joel Chandler Harris, sued the Coca-Cola Company for copyright infringement in 1931. […]

  4. […] Who knew characters in Joel Chandler Harris stories had such a corner on the pancake market? […]

  5. Mary says:

    I have the set of cardboard cut outs. i believe there is only one piece missing. Have wondered about these for years and just wandered onto your site today.

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