Take That Carol Burnett!

Carol Burnett isn’t funny. Sorry, maybe it is a generational thing. Maybe I have become numb to her corny humor after too many marathon sessions watching Jackass and South Park.

No, she just sucks.

Not just her art. She personally sucks. Carol Burnett has the distinction of having filed two cases that had a high likelihood of rolling back all of our First Amendment rights because she was offended. If she had a better haircut, her respect for the First Amendment (or lack thereof) might make one mistake her for George W. Bush.

Fortunately, United States District Court Judge Dean Pregerson does not suck. No, not at all. Judge Pregerson issued a magnificent ruling on June 1, putting Carol Burnett in her place for her absolutely frivolous and shameful complaint against Twentieth Century Fox and Family Guy.

My initial blog entry on this case from March 17.

Carol Burnett v. Family Guy Dismissal
. A happy day for Free Expression.

The dismissal boils down to this: Fair Use.

The Copyright infringement claim was dismissed because parody is protected fair use. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose.

The Trademark Infringement claim was a little less simple than that, but it boiled down to no likelihood of confusion. It shouldn’t take the wisdom of Solomon to arrive at that conclusion. Furthermore, there was no dilution. The First Amendment protects speech that might mock a trademark.

Its that simple.

In the “dodged a bullet” category, Carol got off lightly. Since the federal claims were dismissed, the court declined to exercise its jurisdiction over the state law claims. Had the court done so, the California Anti-SLAPP law would likely have resulted in a pretty nice award for Family Guy.

Giggity Giggity.

7 Responses to Take That Carol Burnett!

  1. cayennem says:

    Sometimes people just think to much of themselves.

  2. [...] Carol Burnett Case Optional but will be helpful to understanding public figure defamation cases. [...]

  3. ntjlaw says:

    Many actors towards the end of their careers seek to be compensated notoriously! It is quite obvious that Carol was trying her best; let’s be real, she might be the only person who actually believes that her image was hurt…Hell, Scott Baio has his own TV drama show now as well….when you think about it, he actually has the malice to defame other celebs, while trying to boost his status…

    Nelson Tejada, Jr.

  4. Brent Modlin says:

    Tejada is right on the money. No offense to Carol, but has-beens are always looking for ways to get back in the game. I almost feel bad for her….. Not only does Scott Baio have his own show, but look at all the yahoos that are getting their own shows now. Some bad – Joey Fatone and Tony Danza and Some Good – Gene Simmons and Andrew Dice Clay. But we all need to realize that more important issues exist such as the return of the has-beens. They are beginning to take over TV wherever we look. All I’m saying is that this world is gonna be a pretty sad place if Jaleel White or Kirk Cameron gets their own show anytime soon. The Olsen Twins I don’t mind as much though
    Brent Modlin

  5. [...] citizens have this bizarre belief that their status means that the law does not apply to them. (example) Unfortunately, courts occasionally get star-struck and agree with them. Not this time. The Eight [...]

  6. Karl says:

    If Carol Burnett needs money, then she needs to release a box set of all of her shows. I will happily pay hundreds of dollars for such a box set. These days you can get almost every single crap TV show since the dawn of eternity on DVD — full seasons, box sets, etc., etc., etc. But not the Carol Burnett show, which was my absolute favorite when I was growing up. So the woman needs ot get off her butt and discover that the fine world of DVD is a dandy way to make a big pile of money for her old age. The Columbia House business doesn’t cut the mustard. For one thing, I don’t live in the States, so that’s not available to me. Get the DVD box set out, sister!

  7. John says:

    Betcha dollars to donuts there is some huge issue holding up this show’s release on dvd, whether it’s music rights or clearance from all the guest stars.
    And Carol may not even own the show. When you think about it, wouldn’t she WANT to get royalties from the dvd’s?

    I notice that whenever she makes a TV appearance, for some reason nobody mentions possible video releases of her show. It’s like she tells them ahead of time not to bring it up. She was on Oprah last year with Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell, and Oprah spoke about the show but nobody even approached the topic of dvd or reruns or anything.

    I wish that by some miracle the show would be released in dvd season sets. All eleven seasons. This is the only show I miss sorely.

    Some episodes are available on the web via bootleg copies of syndicated reruns, or there’s a selection of certain episodes available from the Guthy-Renker website via stupid subscription (they send you a disc every 4-6 weeks). A colossal and disgusting rip-off at $20 a disc.

    As for her suit against Fox, her lawyer probably saw dollar signs and convinced her to go through with it. And maybe if the parody of her character wasn’t in a porno shop she wouldn’t have pursued litigation, lol.

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