Moonbug Entertainment, the owner of popular kids YouTube channel “CoComelon,” was awarded with US$23.4 million in a copyright case against Chinese company BabyBus for “blatantly copying” dozens of “CoComelon” videos.
Moonbug complaint said “Super JoJo” was built by “blatantly copying ‘CoComelon,’” and cited “striking similarity in the freeriding channel’s characters, settings, song titles, lyrics, and/or images, among other things.” Both channels feature animated families of five including a baby – J.J. in “CocoMelon” and JoJo in “Super JoJo” – and an array of nursery rhymes and songs for toddlers.
In total, Moonbug Entertainment accused BabyBus of copying 42 characters, plot devices, and characters from “CoComelon” videos. BabyBus conceded that it infringed seven “CoComelon” works before trial, but contested alleged infringement of 35 other works. The jury agreed with 39 of Moonbug’s claims.
During the trial, BabyBus did not deny the similarities presented by Moonbug, but instead argued that similar elements between the show were not original to “CoComelon” and were inherent to that type of kids’ animated programming, making them unprotectable.
The jury awarded Moonbug Entertainment nearly US$23.5 million in damages, US$17.6 million in actual damages and disgorged profits as well as US$5.8 million in statutory damages electable in the alternative. Although the court case began on July 5 and ran for almost four weeks, Moonbug filed its first legal complaint against BabyBus back in 2021.
“CoComelon” is one of the most successful preschool IPs in the world, with millions of subscribers on its YouTube channel. Created by Treasure Studios, the property was acquired by Moonbug Entertainment in 2020. To date, the series has been sold to numerous broadcasters around the world, including Netflix, which has ordered three seasons and a spinoff called “CoComelon Lane,” as well as several compilations and specials.
“This outcome finally vindicates in court the simple truth that Moonbug and Tyz Law Group have known the whole time: artistic expression and content creators are always worth protecting, and the owners and creators of valuable intellectual property must stand firm against flagrant plagiarists,” Tyz Law Group, the firm that represented Moonbug Entertainment in the case, said in a statement.