Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shh...boy do you wanna get sued??? Plus my thoughts on Stacey Keech

I'm a bit disorientated this morning. On my drive to the Metro I heard a news story that the creators of Family Guy are being sued by the music license holders of When you Wish Upon A Star. I won't bore you with all the details (here's the CNN story), but essentially back in the show's first run (2000) McFarlane and company created an episode called "Wish Upon a Wienstein" in which Peter looks for a Jew to help Chris with his math homework and budget the family's finances. They parodied "Star" in a tune entitled "I Need a Jew".

Fox never aired this episode claiming that it was "not Fox material" (yet those years of Married with Children, Melrose Place, and all those Geraldo specials were!?!?!) and it got it's first airtime in 2003 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block.

So answer me this, oh magic mirror on the wall, why did the music holders come out now with this lawsuit? Is it because they just "discovered" the use of the song in such a dastardly way? Or do they just not like funny television? Or is it because the stick that's wedged 24 1/2 ft up their rear end was removed a few inches allowing blood flow back to their brain?

Need I remind them that numerous courts have allowed Parody without getting permission. This was further solidified by the US Supreme Court case of: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music (1994), where the Court declared that parody is allowed without music rights under the "fair use defense" of the US Copyright Act. A full analysis of that case and act can be found here. And yes, that is the Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew Fame!

So this lawsuit (much like the lost pair of pants suit that raided the DC Courts earlier this year) will tie up the judicial system and force the payment of exhorbanent and unnecessary legal fees. So I ultimately blame this on the are all bad, very bad people indeed.

Before I forget I wanted to touch briefly on the career of actor Stacey Keech, which is of course different then touching Stacey Keech briefly, something that I'm not that interested in. A discussion this morning on whether or not actors watch their own shows and sometimes even DVR them the way fans do led to a discussion about the former FOX sitcom Titus. Which of course led to a discussion of Stacey Keech who plays Chris Titus' dad, Ken. Mr. Keech is a talented actor, perhaps best known for his role as TV detective, Mike Hammer. But when I thought about it, I could swear I've seen him in hundreds of movies, tv shows and the like. But to my surprise, when I went to his IMDB site, I knew virtually none of his work....strange.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Ha! You know nothing about Stacy Keach.