The Mister Softee ice cream jingle has attracted attention for two reasons recently as a lawsuit for copyright infringement was settled against a rival New York ice cream man, and area residents have lodged larger numbers of noise complaints against the iconic music.
A Brooklyn judge ruled against Dimitrios Konstantakakos, owner of the New York Ice Cream vendor truck, for infringing on the hummable Mister Softee jingle with his own knockoff tune, the New York Daily News reported on Monday. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold ruled that the music could confuse customers, which include large numbers of children for both companies.
Konstantakakos, a former Mister Softee franchisee, was ordered to pay more than $10,000 to the company, the Daily News added.
"This is a victory in our ongoing cases against those who violated their franchise agreements and continued to use Mister Softee's registered marks," the company's lawyer Frederic Jennings told the Daily News.
The jingle's day in court was followed by a Monday hearing at the Department of Environmental Protection where officials offered a proposal to silence ice cream vendors' tunes between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., the New York Post reported. City residents have logged 1,013 noise complaints about ice cream trucks so far in 2016.
"Ice cream jingles are among the most annoying noises assaulting New Yorkers' ears every day," City Councilman Daniel Dromm was quoted by the Post.
Officials were pushing to change rules stating that inspectors must catch vendors in the act of noise disturbance in order to issue them summonses, the Post added. Dromm also sought to amend the city’s noise code, which currently allows jingles to be played at low decibels.