The city of Louisville is scrapping plans to use the iconic Dr. Seuss village and characters as part of its annual Christmas display after receiving a cease and desist letter from Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
"It appears these lawyers' hearts are two sizes too small," Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said.
Barbara J. Orr, the San Diego, Calif., attorney who sent the letter, did not immediately return a Monday afternoon phone call seeking comment.
The city had planned to use "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as part of its theme for the annual Light Up Louisville holiday celebration. The display called for an area called "LouWhoVille," complete with costumed characters from the Dr. Seuss classic such as Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch.
But the cease-and-desist letter from the law firm DLA Piper, which represents Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said the "Who-ville" name and image, as well as the Grinch, are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission.
The letter demanded the city and the Louisville Convention and Visitors' Bureau halt any use of the characters for the Christmas display and agree not to use the characters in the future without permission. It threatened legal action if the city and tourism bureau did not comply.
Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for Abramson, said the city complied with the request and renamed the display "Lou-ville."