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.