Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr

Former The Smiths star Johnny Marr has been named as the man behind a legal battle against an online cartoon strip.

We're celebrating this as a victory for free expression and fair use

Bosses at Universal Music have sent a lawyer's letter to graphic designer Lauren LoPrete, who runs a blog where she posts lyrics from The Smiths songs to accompany Charlie Brown cartoons.

The letter cited copyright infringement and demanded LoPrete remove the images from her page, titled This Charming Charlie, but she hit back by employing her own legal team to fight the case.

On Sunday (06Oct13), singer Morrissey threw his weight behind LoPrete's battle, insisting he was "delighted and flattered" by the cartoons and denying he was behind the takedown threat.

Now a leaked letter has apparently unmasked guitarist Marr as the man who requested the blog's removal, leaving LoPrete claiming victory in the fight as Morrissey's approval of her blog blocks the lawsuit.

The letter, from LoPrete's lawyers to representatives of Universal Music bosses, reads, "Last month, alleging copyright infringement on behalf of Johnny Marr, Universal asked Tumblr to remove several posts from Lauren LoPrete's This Charming Charlie page... Morrissey has (since) declared that he's "delighted and flattered" by This Charming Charlie, and "hopes that the strips remain". "Naturally, Ms LoPrete is delighted and flattered by his acclaim.

She's relieved too, as this means Universal can't pursue the matter.

Morrissey and Marr jointly own the Smiths songs' copyright, so either of them can license others to use the lyrics, and Morrissey's generous approval removes any litigation threat.

We're celebrating this as a victory for free expression and fair use".

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