​Big Bang Theory Lawsuit Against Show Producers After Allegedly Stealing ‘Soft Kitty’ Lyrics From Poet Edith Newlin

Big Bang Theory Lawsuit
Author: Jennifer HongBy:
Staff Reporter
Dec. 29, 2015

A Big Bang Theory lawsuit has surfaced against show producers after they allegedly stole the “Soft Kitty” lullaby. The lawsuit claims the show stole lyrics from New Hampshire poet Edith Newlin, according to New York Daily News.

The lawsuit was filed by Newlin’s daughters because they claim the show has been using their mother’s poem without proper attribution or permission. CBS and the Big Bang Theory producers are named in court documents citing copyright infringement,

Big Bang Theory lawsuit alleges show producers stole Soft Kitty lyrics

Big Bang Theory lawsuit alleges show producers stole Soft Kitty lyrics

Edith Newlin wrote a poem about a “Warm Kitty” in the late-1930s. Fans of the series might recognize a lullaby used on Sheldon (Jim Parsons) that has similar words, starting with soft kitty instead. “The ‘Soft Kitty’ lyrics are among the best-known and most popular aspects” of the show, legal documents state.

The Big Bang Theory lawsuit also states that the lyrics have “become a signature and emblematic feature of the show and a central part of the show’s promotion.” But the ongoing problem is that the Newlin daughters say their late mother has never been credited on the show and nobody in their family was ever paid for the poem. They add that their mother’s lyrics have been featured on merch, in eight episodes, and at three or more Comic-Cons.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. But Willis Music Co. published the lyrics in a school songbook and claims it gave Warner Bros. Entertainment proper permission to use the lyrics.

“In 1937, we published a book called Songs for the Nursery School, and we sold tens of thousands of copies,” Willis Music owner Kevin Cranley wrote on the company’s website, “It is a hardbound book of over 150 songs for children. The book was written by Laura Pendleton MacCarteney. In that book on page 27 is ‘Warm Kitty.’ Warner Brothers and I worked together to secure the rights for the show The Big Bang Theory and they have been using the song ever since. The writers wanted the song because one of them remembered it as a child. They also wanted to slightly change the words and I’m really not sure of the reason for that change.”

Edith Newlin

Big Bang producers have not released a statement about the lawsuit. But the lawsuit reportedly claims Willis Music never consulted the Newlin family about the Big Bang Theory; it’s unclear right now what Newlin’s initial contract stipulated as part of the publishing deal.

The Big Bang Theory lawsuit notes Edith Newlin, who died in 2004 at age 99, had worked as a nursery school teacher in Alstead, N.H., for about 35 years when she wrote the lyrics. The sitcom is one of the highest rated comedies on TV, with actors who are the highest-paid actors on TV. The finale of Season 9 was Dec. 17.

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