Shop owner liable for renting costumes resembling Barney

Saturday, September 8, 2001

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- A costume shop owner was found liable of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $100,000 for renting costumes resembling Barney, a 6-foot purple dinosaur, and other characters on a PBS children's television show.

A federal judge ordered Pamela Henry, who runs Pamela's Razz Pizzazz in Moline, to pay $45,000 to Lyons Partnership LP, which creates and licenses "Barney and Friends" products. She was also ordered to pay $55,543 in attorneys fees incurred by Lyons.

Henry said she's upset by the ruling and cannot afford to pay it.

"That means they will garnishee my wages the rest of my life," she said Thursday. "I will lose my home, my car."

The partnership sued Henry in 1998 in U.S. District Court in Rock Island, claiming her costumes violated its copyright.

Lyons threatened such legal action against at least 700 costume shops and other retailers in 20 states in the late 1990s.

In a 17-page ruling issued Wednesday, Chief District Judge Joe Billy McDade said that, as early as 1993, Henry was renting and using a full-length adult Barney costume. She referred to the costume as "Dino" or "Dinzo."

Henry denied violating Lyons' copyright, saying she'd been using dinosaur costumes at children's parties as early as 1987, before Lyons' 1988 copyright of Barney.

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