LONDON - Britney Spears, is she the pristine clean little pop cutie, just one step removed from the Mickey Mouse Club? Or is she the very partially clad seductress displayed on magazine covers everywhere, and soon appearing in an X-rated romp near you on the so-called FedEx sex tape?
As an object of obsession of both innocent pre-teens and those little girls' lecherous fathers, Britney Spears for a long time had many people asking whether she is Dr. Jekyll, or is she Mrs. Hyde? But no more, as the estate of Robert Louis Stevenson, in association with those of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde, filed suit in London High Court today to stop all references to "Jekyll and Hyde" in relation to Ms. Spears.
The suit, submitted to the court by barrister John Utterson, alleges that the association of Britney Spears with either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde is damaging to their literary reputations, to their value as representations of particular ideals and the legacy of the work from which they come: "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
The timing of the suit, say legal experts, relates to twins facts: the release on DVD of the 2005 film "Jekyll + Hyde" and the alleged Spears/FedEx sex tape, which if it slips into the public domain may become the largest grossing porn film of all time.
"Just because the life of Ms. Spears is, incontestably, 'a strange case,' this is no basis for the wholesale theft of the essential kernel of a masterpiece of English literature," said attorney Utterson to the assembled press, as he stood outside the courthouse this morning.
"I am talking to all of you," Utterson said, looking directly at Jaci Stephen of the Daily Mail.
"Although the literary work 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' in its many derivations, deals with themes of a sexual nature, with human depravity and with the public consequences of the disordered personality, that really doesn't mean that anyone who is messed up tangle of sexual subversions can just claim that work as their own," added Utterson.
"In other words," said Banks Allworth, an American attorney affiliated with the case, "we really don't want Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde even sitting near to trailer trash like Britney Spears."
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as you may know," continued Utterson, "rarely agreed upon anything, hence the catchphrase, 'Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.' But their heirs agree wholeheartedly on this: the regular association of either of their names with Ms. Spears is damaging in the utmost to both of them, their names and their legacies. Further, said association has a clear and adverse impact upon both their earning potentials."
"As Mr. Hyde would have put it," added Allworth, "who would want to go to a play or buy a DVD if the first thing that pops into their mind when they hear the title is an image of an obviously preggers, as they say here in bloody old England, slightly chunky girl in flip-flops?"
Contacted by phone in Los Angeles, Spears' attorney, Laura Wasser, said she would have no comment on the case "until she read it, thank you very much."
Copyright 2006 Douglas Salguod