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A young California artist has produced the ideal stress-reliever for attorneys who need to get in touch with their creative side: the “Law & Order” coloring book. Brandon Bird created the coloring book after getting hooked on the TV show. In January 2003, he started watching reruns while preparing a canvas for a painting. “I would be spending four to five hours watching every night, and [I realized] I could die alone and never leave the house watching ‘Law & Order,’ or I could do something kind of productive with it.” A visual art graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, he decided to put together an art show featuring works inspired by “L&O.” A company where he used to work was moving out of its loft, so he used the space for several weeks in May 2003. Between a posting on his Web site and a former professor who made the exhibit a class assignment, about 40 artists participated. Brandon contributed two paintings to the show, a portrait of Detective Lennie Briscoe, and a pop art piece called “Standard Procedure,” showing Briscoe fighting off bad guys from high on the mast of a pirate ship. His third entry was the coloring book. “As a kid, I had a ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ coloring book that had moonshine in it. That made me think of pushing the conventions of a coloring book and including things that couldn’t or shouldn’t be in a coloring book.” The episode featured in the “L&O” coloring book is about a beating death. He decided to start selling the book at www.brandonbird.com/lno_color.html. He began with small print runs, but now turns out 50 to 60 at a time, and says he’s sold 200 already at $12 a pop, plus shipping. The book even earned a mention on network television; his Web site displays a picture of Conan O’Brien giving a copy to Jerry Orbach, who plays Briscoe on “L&O.” So what inspired him to become such a fan? He cites the way the show’s writers dole out pieces of information and plot twists almost every minute. The characters also drew him in, particularly Briscoe, a “weird-looking, wise-cracking old man.” “As an artist, I liked drawing people who looked kind of weird, and ‘Law & Order’ has an abundance of people who are kind of weird. Sam Waterston [who plays Assistant DA Jack McCoy] has weird, thick eyebrows.” As his coloring book gains a higher profile, is he worried that lawyers will come after him for copyright or trademark violations? Not really. In fact, he says he recently received an order from a customer whose e-mail address indicated he worked on the show. Brandon says he wrote back, “Hey, you guys aren’t going to sue me, are you? I like irony, but not that much.” Brandon says the customer told him he’d heard of the coloring book through one of the show’s producers and not to worry about legal action. A spokesperson for Universal Network Television, which is based in Universal City, Calif., says he is unaware of the coloring book’s existence and declines to comment. There was no answer at a telephone number listed for Wolf Films Inc. The program is produced by Wolf Films in association with Universal Network Television. Brandon’s not na�ve about the considerations that go into a decision about whether to pursue legal action. “Whatever money I’ve made off it is probably less than it’d cost a lawyer to write up a cease and desist.” But he’s not willing to be a martyr for the cause: “If they were like, ‘Hey, stop it,’ I’d be like, ‘OK.’ “

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