Freakin Sweet

Judge rejects Family Guy lawsuit

A Los Angeles judge has thrown out comedian Carol Burnett’s lawsuit against Family Guy.

The 73-year-old comic had launched a $2million writ against the animated comedy, claiming an 18-second scene infringed the copyright on one of her comic creations.

The show depicted her Charwoman character mopping the floor of the pornography shop in an episode that aired in April 2006.

But US District Judge Dean Pregerson revealed in a written tentative ruling on Friday he planned to throw out the suit against makers 20th Century Fox. He will issue a final ruling later.

Burnett had complained that the script referred to her by name, and ‘makes a vulgar reference’ to the character’s signature ear tug. Her lawsuit also said the cartoon used a ‘slightly altered version’ of the copyrighted theme tune to The Carol Burnett Show – a gentle family comedy which ran on American TV for 11 years from 1967 - without permission.

At the time of the lawsuit, Fox said: ‘Family Guy, like the Carol Burnett Show, is famous for its pop culture parodies and satirical jabs at celebrities. 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.’

Here is the offending scene:

Published: 29 May 2007

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