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Carol Burnett is an Idiot

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I wrote a short time ago about a lawsuit Carol Burnett filed against Fox over a parody they did of her and her show on Family Guy. Anyone with even a moderate level of intelligence knows that parody -- making fun of someone -- is an exemption for both copyright law and libel as well. One would think that wealthy celebrities like Burnett would be well aware of these laws themselves, but failing that, their lawyers ought to know.

If they don't, those lawyers need to be disbarred, not fired, because they aren't even fit to represent people in the legal system.

It was a forgone conclusion that Burnett was going to lose this case on the merit of her arguments because she had none. The show in question did a segment, featuring a fake version of her and her show -- as good of a definition of parody as I've ever seen -- and she got mad for being made fun of. Firstly, copyright was the wrong law to sue over because Fox didn't use anything she owns the rights to other than her supposed image, something you mostly lose control over in situations like this because celebrities as public figures get fewer protections than the public does.

Second, as I said, it's parody and protected as free speech even under libel and slander law.

Luckily for her, it looks like her lawsuit isn't even going to make it to trial -- and I say luckily for her because she's going to lose no matter what, and having the suit tossed as frivolous will save her some serious cash.

From E! Online, which makes this even more pathetic:

A statement from the studio expresses surprise over Burnett's actions, especially considering her Family Guy depiction amounted to about 18 seconds of an episode chockfull of other cultural parodies.

In copyright, that short a reference during a 30-minute show would have -- all by itself -- allowed Fox not just to parody her via animation, but use an actual clip from her show with or without permission. That's the way the law works -- fair use.

And now an hour ago, via the Associated Press:

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson said in a written tentative ruling Friday that he planned to dismiss the lawsuit against 20th Century Fox. He will issue a final ruling later.

Which means her suit didn't even pass the sniff test. If someone has a claim, all it has to do is be valid, it doesn't have to have a significant chance of winning at all. When suits get thrown out before evidence discovery or any presentations at all, it's junk from the onset and a total waste of time because it's going to fail.

Burnett is plenty rich enough as it is, and she needs to grow a thicker skin as a supposed person of comedy -- this is ridiculous. If she can't take the jokes, she needs to shut her mouth and stop telling them as well.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.