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Another lawsuit for Family Guy and FOX

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Another lawsuit for Family Guy and FOX

Old 10-04-07, 04:50 PM
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Another lawsuit for Family Guy and FOX

From yahoo.com:

Classic song's owner sues over spoof By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 4, 6:16 AM ET



NEW YORK - In the 67 years since its debut, "When You Wish Upon a Star" has been recorded by more than 100 artists and orchestras.

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But the song's owner is irate about what it calls an unseemly spoof of the familiar tune, saying the dreamy classic was twisted into an anti-Semitic ballad and widely distributed as part of a comedy television program.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, music publishing house Bourne Co. aims to stop the program's distribution. The suit accuses Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co., the Cartoon Network and others of copyright infringement. It seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit said that in 2000, the defendants included the parody, "I Need a Jew," in an episode of the Fox television animated series "The Family Guy."

The episode, titled "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," relied on the premise that the main character could not manage his family's finances and needed to hire a Jewish person to take care of his money, the lawsuit said.

During the episode, the main character, Peter Griffin, sings "I Need a Jew," which the lawsuit called a thinly veiled copy of the music from "When You Wish Upon a Star," accompanied by new anti-Semitic lyrics.

Fox hadn't seen the complaint as of Wednesday afternoon and had no comment, spokesman Chris Alexander said.

According to the lawsuit, Fox initially withheld the episode from distribution because of its content but eventually earned large sums of money by distributing more than 1 million copies of it to the public in various home video formats.

It said the Cartoon Network first aired the episode on Nov. 10, 2003. A message for comment left with the network was not returned Wednesday.

"When You Wish Upon a Star," written by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline, appeared in 1940 as part of the Walt Disney motion picture "Pinocchio." It won the Academy Award that year for Best Original Song.

"With its theme of wholesome hopefulness, the song has gained worldwide status as a classic," the lawsuit said. "By associating Bourne's song with such offensive lyrics and other content in the episode, defendants are harming the value of the song."

Bourne is the sole U.S. copyright owner of "When You Wish Upon a Star."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071004/...a_star_lawsuit

Does this lawsuit have chance? i mean, the episode was released on 2003 on dvd and then shown on tv the same year and now this guy sues? Is parody protected under freedom of spech?
Old 10-04-07, 05:05 PM
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This person must live under a rock to not have known about this sooner. Come on.
Old 10-04-07, 05:08 PM
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This is like the time I went on a picnic with Steven Seagal.

SEAGAL: "This PB&J sandwiches are..."
ME: "...ABOVE THE LAW!"
[SEAGAL punches ME in the stomach]
Old 10-04-07, 05:47 PM
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Wasn't there a controversy about this 4 years ago?

I'm Jewish and this is one of my favorite episodes, mostly because of the song.
Old 10-04-07, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rfduncan


This person must live under a rock to not have known about this sooner. Come on.
I never knew about it.
Old 10-04-07, 06:02 PM
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Isn't there a time limit to when you can sue for something like this? And if he owns it, doesn't that mean they had to speak to him for permission to use the song?
Old 10-04-07, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CKMorpheus
Isn't there a time limit to when you can sue for something like this? And if he owns it, doesn't that mean they had to speak to him for permission to use the song?
Not for a parody.
Old 10-04-07, 10:24 PM
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The Supreme Court gave a pretty high level of protection to parodies in the 2 Live Crew case and this one seems safe. They changed the lyrics and music significantly.

Also, while one of the factors for copyright infringement is damage to the marketplace of the original work, the court found that a "parody may quite legitimately aim at garroting the original, destroying it commercially as well as artistically," and therefor the courts role in that area was to ensure the parody wasn't usurping the original in the market, and not to defend against suppressing demand for the orignal. So I don't think they can argue the "anti-semitic" nature of the parody harmed the orignal work.

However, parody isn't automatically protected as free speech. In the 2 Live case the court remand the issue of how much original music is too much. I think someone like Weird Al, who often tries to reproduce the orignal music with only altered lyrics, might not pass muster, but it hasn't been tested.

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