HBO, the maker of popular TV series "Game of Thrones," was heavily criticized for threatening to sue an autistic teenage girl over her use of the phrase "winter is coming" in her artwork.
Felicity Wilcox, 13, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, was shocked to receive an email from HBO stating she will face legal action for copyright infringement unless she removes the phrase from her art, the Daily Mail reports.
The phrase was submitted as part of her art entry to a competition on website Redbubble and is key to the plot of the TV fantasy series.
Felicity's piece was later re-published on the competition's website without the phrase above it, SWNS reports.
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The "winter is coming" reference is a slogan of "warning and constant vigilance" that the House Stark uses in the hit TV series.
Winter stretches for decades in the world of "Game of Thrones" and is linked to the myth of White Walkers -- an army of undead soldiers.
The legal threat was slammed by Felicity's father, Jonathan Wilcox.
"Why are they picking on a 13-year-old girl? I think they’ve got bigger fish to fry if I’m honest," he said. "It’s very petty if you ask me -- my initial reaction was shock, like, what the hell is going on? It is just so heavy-handed for something so menial."
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He added, "When your daughter gets upset and shows you her laptop which says she is being threatened for posting an innocent picture on the internet -- it’s the world gone mad."
"Flic was really scared when the email mentioned the complaint and the possibility of a lawsuit," he said. "HBO can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine to be honest, like I’ve said before, they need to get a life."
Jonathan said Redbubble informed him it would obey HBO's demand and sent him a copy of the notice.
He then did some research online and found a number of Etsy artists had also received the letter.
Redbubble said the website had a "legal obligation" to follow through on takedown requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.