Copyright Law

'Big Bang Theory' producers are sued over 'Soft Kitty' song

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soft kitty

A “soft kitty” shirt for sale at the CBS store.

A lawsuit filed last week contends The Big Bang Theory television show is violating a copyright obtained by a New Hampshire nursery school teacher for a “Soft Kitty” poem she wrote in the 1930s.

The suit by the heirs of teacher Edith Newlin says the poem has been used in a song on the TV show and in related merchandising, report the New York Law Journal (sub. req.), the New York Times and Ars Technica’s Law & Disorder. Some of the items credited the lyrics to a show producer, rather than Newlin, the suit says.

According to the suit, Willis Music gave the show’s producers permission to use the song, which credited Newlin for the lyrics, without getting permission from Newlin’s heirs. A character on the show sings the song to other characters in need of comforting, including the physicist character Sheldon Cooper.

Newlin’s poem reads: “Warm kitty, soft kitty/Little ball of fur/Sleepy kitty, happy kitty/Purr! Purr! Purr!” The show uses these lyrics: “Soft Kitty, warm kitty/Little ball of fur/Happy kitty, sleepy kitty/Purr! Purr! Purr!”

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