Cardiff 101, Kook Run agree to settlement

ENCINITAS — The Cardiff 101 Main Street Association and the organizers of the Cardiff Kook Run have agreed to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit over the use of the likeness of the race’s namesake statue without the association’s permission.

Court documents show that a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on Oct. 24 after both sides agreed to a settlement in September.

The details of the settlement arrangement were not available in the court documents. Attorneys for both sides were not immediately available for comment.

Cardiff 101 Main Street Association filed the lawsuit in federal court in January, days before the fifth running of the 5K/10K race. The association alleged that race organizer Steve Lebherz willingly ignored cease-and-desist demands from Cardiff 101 after Lebherz cut ties between the race and Cardiff 101 after nearly four years in late 2015.

The association sought $150,000 and attorneys fees.

Lebherz, who called the lawsuit “bullying tactics,” said he agreed to stop using the statue’s likeness immediately after the race, but couldn’t stop using it that late in the planning process.

Cardiff 101 owns the copyright for use of the likeness of the statue, which is officially called “Magic Carpet Ride,” but is best known by its nickname, the “Cardiff Kook,” and the many pranks associated with the infamous surfer statue.

The statue’s creator, Encinitas surfer Matthew Antichevich, transferred the copyright to the organization shortly after completing it in 2007 to help it raise money for the statue’s maintenance and for other community activities.

Cardiff 101 started actively enforcing the copyright in 2013, as the group began requiring entities wishing to use the image of the statue to enter into licensing agreements, which they in turn used to help fund maintenance efforts for Carpentier Parkway.

After four races, Lebherz said in 2015 he wrote the association to tell them he wished to partner with another nonprofit organization for the 2016 race, but received an email from association CEO Annika Walden that the group would have to cease and desist from using the Kook likeness on race materials and advertisements.

Lebherz said Cardiff 101 said he would have to pay $10,000 to use the statue’s likeness. He refused and offered to stop using the likeness after the race. Shortly thereafter, Cardiff 101 filed the federal lawsuit.

Attorneys for the association n January said that Lebherz was made aware that he was legally required to either enter into another licensing agreement or stop using the likeness. By refusing, he said, he forced the organization’s hand into the lawsuit.

Lebherz and the Encinitas City Council recently entered into a memorandum of understanding for next year’s race, which is scheduled for Feb. 5.

The agreement calls for the Cardiff Kook Run to provide a benefit to the community equivalent to $4 for every runner in the race.

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