Grandma Got Run Over By a Lawsuit

Yes, just in time for the holidays, a fresh dispute has arisen regarding the use of that beloved yuletide chorus, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.″
On the chance that you aren’t familiar with the song, it was released in 1979 by one Elmo Shropshire (no relation to the Tickle Me Elmo that caused such consternation a few years back) and his then wife Patsy Trigg, under the name Elmo and Patsy (Patsy neither sings nor plays an instrument on the song). The song, which garnered national attention in 1984, revolves around the sad tongue-in-cheek tale of a grandma who, having left her medication at home, but having imbibed a bit too much eggnog, stumbles out into the snow, only to be found in the snow the next morning “with hoof prints on her forehead, and incriminatin’ Claus marks on her back.’
Elmo Shropshire has been sued for breach of contract by The Fred Rappoport Co., a firm that claims Elmo interfered in a $1 million-plus deal to sell (are you ready for this?) musical trucks, bobblehead dolls, snow globes and cookie jars featuring characters from the cartoon (you might think of it as an “animated show’) that was released in 2000 based on the song.
The Fred Rappoport Co. says it has the rights to use the song for products featuring characters from the cartoon – and says it got those specific rights under a previous 2004 settlement of a lawsuit filed by Elmo.
The new lawsuit, which seeks at least $2 million in damages, contends that Elmo this month improperly sent cease-and-desist letters to two companies that made a deal with Rappoport to market products featuring characters from the animated show. For his part, Elmo says that he was simply legally enforcing his rights to the song.
“He can sell any characters he wants from the movie,” Shropshire said, according to the Associated Press. “But I own the copyright from the song. He can’t use the song without my permission.”
Or, perhaps as Elmo himself might say:
“I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors.
Better watch out for yourselves.
They can never give a license,
To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves – and sings.’