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Comcast Faces Monster Lawsuit

The Tokyo-based company that owns the rights to Godzilla is suing Comcast and its ad agency for allegedly misappropriating the fire-breathing lizard in one of its ads earlier this year (see Chirpy Ads Win Over Comcast-Hater).

The suit, filed Aug. 6 in Los Angeles by Toho Co., charges that neither Comcast or Goodby, Silverstein & Partners — the agency that created the “Comcast Town” campaign — sought permission to use or feature Godzilla in the ad. The spot showed a giant green lizard, walking upright à la Godzilla, getting blasted by a huge robot with some kind of laser-beamy weapon.

In a statement, Comcast said: “Comcast does not believe there has been any copyright infringement.” Goodby isn’t commenting on the litigation.

Toho is looking to collect royalties for the use of Godzilla’s image that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, Toho attorney Charles Shephard told AdAge.

Shephard noted the “Comcast Town” commercial at issue is no longer being broadcast. However, he said,”they refuse to compensate us for the license fee. They just took the image for free,” according to Fox’s L.A. affiliate.

You can watch the giant-lizard Comcast Town ad on YouTube. The campaign kicked off March 2; Toho’s suit claims Comcast promised to stop running the ad April 11 but that it remained on the air through May.