Italian court subpoenaes cartoon characters
Tuesday, December 04, 2007 | 4:29 PM
ROME, Italy -- Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary.
An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.
In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.
The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino - the Italian names for the characters - as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.
Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.
"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."
The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, although this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.
"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.
Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered Tuesday.