February 28th, 2012
06:40 PM ET
Justin Bieber was in good humor as he helped Billy Crystal open the Oscars Sunday, but the teen star's team seems to find nothing funny about a game app called "Joustin' Beaver."
According to a statement from the company behind the app, RC3, Bieb's legal team handed down a cease and desist letter alleging that the game uses Bieber's likeness without authorization, among other things.
The "Joustin' Beaver" game features a beaver called JB, which with aid from the game's player tries to thwart opportunistic "Phot-Hogs" with his lance as he sails down a river signing "Otter-graphs."
According to the statement from RC3, the cease and desist letter states that “The App utilizes our Client’s name and likeness and portrays a beaver character based on our Client as part of the App’s game play," adding that the game's creator has "no right to utilize our Client’s name, image, likeness, life story or identity in or in connection with the App."
However, the company claims that the game is a parody, and thus falls under First Amendment free speech rights.
“Nowhere in the game is Justin Bieber’s name, photo, image or life story mentioned," RC3 has said. "We were surprised to learn that in addition to being a talented musician, Mr. Bieber is also a fictional beaver.”
CNN has reached out to Bieber's reps for comment, but has yet to hear back. Meanwhile, RC3 has filed what they say is, in essence, a lawsuit against Justin Bieber, reiterating that the game is a parody of Bieber's celebrity.
According to documents acquired by The Hollywood Reporter, RC3 says in its suit that "In an effort to comment upon the Defendant's life, the Plaintiff, RC3, developed the aforementioned app...a video game [that] is a parody of the commercial success of the Defendant and any celebrity."
In a statement, the president and CEO of RC3, Robb Chamberlain, told CNN that "based on the demands of Justin Bieber's attorneys, we felt that preemptive and defensive measures were necessary. We feel confident in our argument based on our First Amendment rights."
RC3 is seeking a declaration that it's not infringing on Bieber's trademark or or misappropriating his likeness for commercial gain.
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