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.
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.