The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Courts rule against use of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


January 13, 2019

LAS CRUCES — Mark Anthony Baca said he is “beaten, but not defeated” after the courts last year prohibited him from continuing to use the likeness of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in his anti-bullying campaign.

U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera entered a permanent injunction against Baca and his non-profit “Guardian Anti-Bullying Campaign, Inc.” from “directly or indirectly infringing Viacom’s Ninja Turtles Trademarks or any mark that is confusingly similar thereto in any manner,” according to a final judgment submitted late last year.

Viacom International, Inc. filed the copyright infringement suit in February, but Baca still brought the likeness of the pizza-loving reptilian quartet on his educational productions to thwart bullying, even showcasing them at Clovis’ Comic Con in September.

Baca defended his use of those likenesses on the basis that his free shows were a “parody” and had positively impacted many young lives. He said he opted out of hiring a defense lawyer on the Viacom suit, but was glad the judge at least saw fit not to assess punitive damages on him in resolving it.

In weeks following that final judgment, Baca is no longer incorporating the turtles in his show — though he is utilizing actors that have played Power Rangers, with appearances coming Thursday in Hereford and Friday in Clovis.

Baca said he hasn’t received any copyright complaints from Hasbro and doesn’t expect to, since his performers don’t like to appear in costume.

“I let my haters motivate me to do better,” he told The News.

Viacom representatives did not return a message Friday seeking comment on the lawsuit.


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