Carol Burnett sues Family Guy

  1. Carol Burnett sues TV's "Family Guy" cartoon

    Fri Mar 16, 9:05 PM

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Carol Burnett has filed a copyright infringement suit against the makers of Fox TV's cartoon sitcom "Family Guy" over an episode poking fun at the performer and her variety show from the 1960s and '70s.

    The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims "Family Guy" violated Burnett's exclusive rights to her name and likeness by depicting her signature cleaning-woman character in a segment last April without her consent.

    The suit, which seeks at least $2 million in damages, also says the cartoon episode used a "slightly altered version" of the copyrighted musical theme to "The Carol Burnett Show" without permission from the 73-year-old entertainer.

    A spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces "Family Guy," said on Friday the suit was without merit and that references to Burnett and her show in an 18-second sequence of the cartoon amounted to parody.

    "'Family Guy,' like the 'Carol Burnett Show,' is famous for its pop culture parodies and satirical jabs at celebrities," the studio said in a statement. "We are surprised that Ms. Burnett, who has made a career of spoofing others on television, would go so far as to sue 'Family Guy' for a simple bit of comedy."

    The episode in question refers to Burnett by name as working as a part-time janitor, and depicts her "charwoman" character -- complete with trademark blue bonnet and mop bucket -- cleaning the floor of a pornography shop, the suit says.

    Another character then makes a vulgar reference to the signature ear tug used by Burnett at the close of her variety show each week, according to the lawsuit.

    Burnett and her company have urged Fox to reedit the "Family Guy" episode to remove any reference her, but the studio has so far refused, the suit said.

    "The Carol Burnett Show," combining comedy sketches and musical performances, aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and was one of the most popular shows on U.S. television in that era.
  2. YouTube - Family Guy Pornoslavia

    This is the clip in question. I think she's just mad a spoof of her character was in a porn shop.

    Joe says "You know, when she tugged on her ear at the end of that show, she was really saying good night to her mom."
    Quagmire then goes, "I wonder what she'd tug to say good night to her dad!"

    Carol Burnett is obviously not familiar with the show. They're always doing send-offs of things. It's more of a parody.

    And Quagmire did a vulgar reference because he's a vulgar character.
  3. I think she needs to get over it. Like the producers said, her show used to parody real people and characters created by other people all the time and no one ever sued her.

    all shes doing is bringing more attention to it.
  4. Give me a break!

    Family Guy must have the most amazing legal team behind them anyhow- they think it all out. She needs to laugh and move on
  5. I would be flattered if I were put in an episode of Family Guy!

    I could see why she'd be upset if they used the original song, because that's going too far, but they slightly altered it. The lawsuit even stated they slightly altered it.
  6. LOL nice try carol...
  7. i wonder if she would have felt this way thirty years ago when she was spoofing 'gone with the wind' to make her fortune...

    it'll never stand up in court. parody is protected speech.
  8. This is so ridiculous--the whole show is constant spoofs of everything. Since when does a spoof have to observe copyright? Wow--when this gets thrown out, they're going to destroy her on Family Guy. LOL--I wouldn't pick a fight with them.
  9. ugh she needs to get over it. period
  10. ITA!
  11. I would be insulted to have my character cleaning a pornography store. I know it was a spoof, but still I think it is disgusting, but then I don't like family guy at all because I don't find it funny. I think she has every right to be mad.
  12. From The Smoking Gun:

    MARCH 16--Comedian Carol Burnett, angered by her portrayal as a janitor in an adult film store in the animated TV show "The Family Guy," has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Twentieth Century Fox, the program's distributor. According to Burnett, 73, she was approached by Fox in mid-2005 for permission to use the theme song from "The Carol Burnett Show" in a "Family Guy" episode. She declined the request. It was then, Burnett alleges in a lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, that she became a target of the raunchy Fox show. A copy of Burnett's complaint can be found below. Burnett claims that after she refused to license her music, Fox caused a "Family Guy" episode to "be rewritten to disparage Ms. Burnett using Ms. Burnett's signature ear tug." In an episode first aired last April, a quartet of "Family Guy" characters is seen entering a porn shop. When Peter, one of the comedy's lead characters, wonders if it will be dirty, another remarks that the business is clean because "Carol Burnett works part-time as a janitor." As seen in the above video clip, the animated female janitor appears modeled after the "Charwoman" character that the comedian created decades ago ("Charwoman," the complaint notes, is known for her trademark blue bonnet, and she always carries a mop and bucket). In the "Family Guy" episode, entitled "Peterotica," a "slightly altered version of Carol's Theme is playing" while the animated janitor is on screen, situated next to a bin of blow-up dolls. Additionally, Burnett takes issue with a "vulgar comment" made by one of the characters in relation to the star's trademark ear tug. The performer's lawsuit, which seeks in excess of $6 million in damages, also charges Fox with misappropriating her name and likeness and violating her publicity rights.
  13. She should have known better than to sue. Her lawyer didn't give her good advice, probably was thinking about the fees he would make bringing about this ridculous thing.
  14. 'Family Guy' lawsuit filed by Carol Burnett tossed

    By Stone Martindale May 26, 2007, 21:47 GMT

    The Rhode Island menace, Peter Griffin, has beat the iconic Variety show queen Carol Burnett in a lawsuit battle she filed against "The Family Guy" and FOX over an 18 second clip.
    A Los Angeles federal U.S. District Judge, Dean Pregerson, said in a tentative ruling on Friday that he planned to dismiss the lawsuit brought against 20th Century Fox by Burnett. He will issue a final ruling later.
    Carol Burnett's $2 million copyright infringement lawsuit was over the use of her cleaning woman character in the animated series "Family Guy," reports the AP.
    Burnett sued in March, claiming the Seth MacFarlane created Fox show didn't have the right to include her cleaning lady character in an aired April 2006 episode.
    The episode portrayed an animated version of her cleaning woman in a sex shop and used a version of her Variety show's theme music without permission, the lawsuit contended.
    FOX had released a statement claiming "it was surprised" over what amounted to an 18-second scene.