Whenever Sheldon on Big Bang Theory needs a little TLC, the Soft Kitty song just does it for him. TBH it does it for us too. What’s not to love about a sweet song about a soft warm ball of fur? We purr, purr, purr every time we hear it.
Ellen Newlin Chase and Margaret Chase Perry, however, are not purring. They’re not purring at all. In fact, they’re really angry. Newlin Chase and Chase Perry are the children of Edith Newlin, who wrote Soft Kitty. According to the The Wrap, Newlin was a nursery school teacher for 35 years and her Soft Kitty lyrical poem was first published in 1937 in Songs for the Nursery School. Her children claim that Warner Bros. and the people behind Big Bang Theory never obtained legal permission to use the song. Since Newlin died in 2004, her copyrights have passed to her family.
As all of us Sheldon-lovers know, Soft Kitty pops up frequently on the Big Bang Theory. At least eight times, according to Newlin Chase and Chase Perry. On Monday, they filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York alleging that rights to the poem belonged to Edith Newlin and the defendants (which include Warner Bros. entertainment, Chuck Lorre Productions, CBS, Turner Broadcasting and basically everyone else that has anything to do with Big Bang Theory) “never contacted or made any attempt to contact Edith Newlin or her successors to seek permission to use the Soft Kitty Lyrics, and Plaintiffs never granted any permission … to do so.” The lawsuit also says the lyrics to Soft Kitty have been used in advertising, merchandising and promotion for the show, and that Bill Prady, a principal at Chuck Lorre Productions, was even miscredited as being the author of the rhyme. Maybe that was the final straw for Newlin’s daughters.
The whole situation sounds super serious. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit plays out. One thing is certain, though. We love Soft Kitty, and now we know we’ve got Edith Newlin to thank for making us purr.
(Image via Warner Bros.)