South Park Sued for Copyright Infringement

A few weeks ago, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone escaped a possible lawsuit for lifting lines of the movie “Inception” in one of their South Park episodes. Parker and Stone apologized for using and making fun of lines they believed came directly from the movie’s script, but, in fact, were from another online parody. Apology accepted, everyone’s happy.

Now, Comedy Central, Viacom and South Park’s producers are being sued by the producers of “What, What (In the Butt)”, a copyrighted YouTube video that went viral in 2007.

The suit alleges that South Park’s “nearly frame-by-frame recreation” of the “What What” video is blatant copyright infringement. Despite the fact that South Park’s video may have used the words, music, and choreography of the original video, there are some pretty obvious, and important, differences as well.

Not only does South Park provide its own animation, characters and voices for its version, but the South Park video is interrupted by images of the other South Park characters watching and reacting to the video from their home computers. South Park did not use the original “What What” video, but created its own version and provided social commentary through its presentation of the video and preceding and succeeding South Park scenes.

Here is the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbGkxcY7YFU

What do you think? Will South Park prevail on a parody/First Amendment defense? Or did South Park go too far by copying “What What” too literally?

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