Minto — Just in time for Christmas, a gargantuan pile of tires caught on fire in Minto on Dec. 20. The Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corp. (TRACC) tire fire was still burning one week later. While the fire has finally been extinguished, it wasn’t before people around the world took notice, with many drawing comparisons to the iconic Springfield tire fire in the popular Fox/Disney-owned TV show The Simpsons.
It appears that the high-ups at Disney have taken notice as well. Disney is well-known for being highly protective of their intellectual property, and today announced through Simpsons creator Matt Groening that they will be suing the town of Minto and TRACC for copyright infringement of the Springfield Tire Fire in the show.
“We acknowledge that this has been a tough time for Mintonians and New Brunswickers, but the fact remains that The Simpsons, and therefore Disney, own the rights to tire fires,” said Groening, wearing a Disney-branded leash at a press release at Disneyland in sunny Florida. “If we let this one slide, we’d set a precedent and have to let everyone get away with stealing from us.”
Mintonians are dismayed at the lawsuit, with Mayor George Bridge saying it adds insult to injury.
“We put out the fire — isn’t that enough?” asked Bridge, his voice muffled by a breathing mask. “We spent ages trying to extinguish it for safety reasons, so surely Disney can find it in their hearts to let this go, considering the fact that it was unintentional, and the harm it’s caused to our small community.”
But a spokesperson for Disney said that unintentional or not, copyright laws still apply.
“Even though the fire was extinguished, the fact is that it raged for seven days — a full week where people associated tire fires with Minto, New Brunswick, rather than Springfield and our lovable cartoon family with a cast of any characters,” said Sandra Patterson, VP of Communications at Disney.
“Minto should think about the legal consequences next time they want to have some form of tragedy or disaster.”
Minto residents are trying to recuperate after the tire fire.
“This was a crappy Christmas for sure, and I don’t know how we can afford a legal battle, seeing as all the town’s money was blown on fighting the fire and reducing its environmental impact” said Minto resident Pam Keleher. “Normally my family and I watch Simpsons Christmas specials this time of year, but I think instead we’re going to watch Family Guy this time.”