SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The widow of famed child psychologist Dr. Benjamin Spock demands more than $84,000 in royalties from a website highlighting the techniques in Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Child Care.”
In a federal lawsuit, Mary Morgan says The Dr. Spock Co., owner of the website DrSpock.com, owes her royalties for breaching their licensing agreement.
Morgan claims DSC agreed in 2001 to give her monthly cash payments of $8,333 for the right to use Spock’s name and likeness online. The deal also stipulated that Morgan could terminate the contract if the company failed to make the payments.
Morgan claims that’s exactly what happened.
She allegedly sent DSC a letter in January, telling the company that it can no longer use Dr. Spock’s name and likeness on its website.
Spock was an influential pediatrician and child psychologist whose 1946 book “Baby and Child Care” became one of the top bestsellers of all time. Dr. Spock encouraged parents to be more affectionate with their children and to treat them as individuals. His ideas on childcare bucked the conventional wisdom of the time, which focused on discipline and advised mothers not to “spoil” their children by catering to every cry.
“DSC’s only response to Ms. Morgan’s notice and termination has been to assert that it has an unspecified oral agreement with Ms. Morgan that renders her notice and termination a nullity,” the lawsuit states.
Morgan says there was no such oral agreement.
She demands an order forcing DSC to pay her royalties and stop using her late husband’s name and image.
She also seeks more than $14,000 in damages for breach of contract, misappropriation of publicity rights and false designation of origin.
Her attorney is Gary Clark with Sheppard Mullin of Los Angeles.
Dr. Spock died on March 15, 1998. He was 94.