Parody or Pilfering? Court to Decide What’s What (In The Butt)

Brownmark Films is suing “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker in a case that seems right out of one of the South Park scripts. The court will decide whether Stone and Parker stole copyrighted material from “What What (in the Butt) — a music video that went viral. They are accused of stealing the idea from the website CollegeHumor, but the show insists that this is simply protected parody.

The video was released in 2007 and has been downloaded 33 million times on YouTube at this link. They have had over 33 million hits.

In 2008, South Park produced its own re-creation featuring Butters in an episode “Canada on Strike.” South Park insists: “Courts have consistently recognized that parody enjoys broad protections under the First Amendment and the Copyright Act. We believe ‘South Park’s’ parody of the ‘What What (In the Butt)’ viral music video…is fully protected against any copyright infringement claims under the fair-use doctrine and the First Amendment and we plan to vigorously defend those rights.” In other words, you will have to pry our version of “What What (In The Butt)” from our cold dead cartoon hands.

They have also noted that Brownmark founders Bobby Ciraldo and Andrew Swant stated publicly after the show that they “sent Trey and Matt a thank-you e-mail the next day.” Once again, I find the growing copyright litigation to be a stifling trend in our country. In this case, the creators put the video for download on YouTube with tens of millions of hits and yet sue over a re-make.

Source: Yahoo

56 thoughts on “Parody or Pilfering? Court to Decide What’s What (In The Butt)”

  1. Last comment. (Maybe.) Have to poke a little fun at myself (how’s that for an old expression). It occurs to me that I can take just about any thread and find a way to wind it around to the issues of torture, Blackwater (Xe), or wikileaks…

  2. In no time at all, we’ve upgraded from a tricycle — to a car, with a worthy spare.

    (I’m feeling much better, but feel the need to confess that I don’t play bridge…

  3. Regading, “lil’ authoritarian sociopath Cartman” (Buddha), there was something in the news about an arms purchase by someone using the name Eric Cartman. Or it might have been a sale or transfer to Eric Cartman by the government??? Does anyone recall? I’ll try to find a link…

  4. If you can use a 5th wheel, I’ve never seen South Park either.

    I have a niece that is a SP fan, but even she reached her limit in one episode. I gather that is the point of the show – push the boundries until you’ve grossed out everyone.

  5. Blouise,

    Perhaps in political tone it’s in the spirit of “Pogo” but it takes on American culture by lampooning the entertainment industry more than Walt’s strip would have.

  6. SwM,

    Yeah … a fourth … we can play bridge and you can give us whatever insights you may remember from hearing it play in the background.

    I have gone from feeling all alone to finding 3 others all within a matter of minutes … remarkable.

  7. anon nurse,

    Welcome! We have enough for a party!

    Speaking of which … last night was a great time and I have a bit of a celebratory headache this morning.

    The next good time is scheduled for Friday.

    Today I get the word on the medical thing …

  8. Buddha,

    The program has a lot of fans such as yourself and it has been around forever so I’m certain it is exactly as you state … I just never watched it and have only seen excerpts that other people insert into their programs or postings.

    Is it in anyway similar to the old comic strip, Pogo?

  9. Count me as the third wheel in the Turley triad of non-South Park watchers…

    (As I listened to the song this morning, I felt quite alone. 🙂 )

  10. Elaine/Blouise,

    It’s crude, rude, socially unacceptable and hysterical. And despite this? Almost always manages to convey a positive message or speak truth to power at some point, usually by something Stan or the others says in reaction to events or something horrible that lil’ authoritarian sociopath Cartman has done. If you can get past the “bad” language, it’s what good comedy should be: funny and truthful in a way that speaks to human nature. It’s not to everybody’s taste, but it isn’t bunk either as far as comedy goes.

  11. One of my favorite parodies is a takeoff of the classic children’s picture book “Goodnight Moon.” It’s called “Goodnight Bush” and was published in 2008.

    Here’s how it begins:

    In the situation room
    There was a toy world
    And a flight costume
    And a picture of–
    A refinery plume
    And there were war profiteers giving three cheers

    You can take a look inside the book here:

    I bought several copies of the book in 2008 and gave them as gifts to some of my friends.

  12. Elaine,

    Yeah … another cultural unsophisticate … we can sit in the corner and not get the jokes together … I really felt as if I was the only one in the country so this is very good news …

  13. I am an unsophisticate in that I have never watched South Park. You have no idea how many “jokes” I don’t get due to that lack of cultural insight.

    My the party with the best case win?

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