Family Guy sued... again

Though it would initially appear impossible, apparently Jesus Christ and Carlos Mencia have something in common--they both may steal material from others...at least according to Family Guy.

In the direct-to-DVD feature Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Fox's Family Guy portrayed the sandaled one as having abilities that "may have been exaggerated a bit." In one scene, Jesus is shown doing a goofy routine involving hand gestures and singing a simple tune.

While that may just be enough to send the deeply religious into a conniption fit, it was certainly more than enough for one magician to file a lawsuit. Art Metrano, who works as a comedian, actor, and magician, has sued 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane (whose name is misspelled on legal documents (pdf file) acquired by TMZ.com), and collaborators Steve Callaghan and Alex Borstein.

Metrano claims that the act that the animated Jesus performed was in fact his own that he has done before on shows such as The Tonight Show. The comedian is suing for copyright infringement.

TMZ.com has video of both the scene in question and a performance by Metrano from way back when. Though the video evidence seems to be damning, the real question is if Metrano's act is legally protected in any way.

Metrano has an extensive acting portfolio, and has appeared in shows such as Benson, Police Academy: The Series, L.A. Law, and Party of Five.

Family Guy, which has always been controversial because of its off-the-cuff humor, has been sued twice already this year. Carol Burnett brought charges against the show in March for the show's use of one of her characters, and a music publishing company sued the show for the its parody of "When You Wish Upon a Star" that contained anti-Semitic lyrics.

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Saffii1, you're trash. Why should a nobody like you have a say in what other people watch? If you don't like it, don't watch it. Lawsuits like this are brought on by people like you who need to project their own selfish uptight communist belief system on to others. Go F*** your self Hitler
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I’ll tell you what’s stupid: The fact that after three lawsuits, this show still hasn’t gotten the hint that it’s doing a lot of stuff wrong and decided to change it. At the very least, they could’ve cancelled it. Their vulgar, lewd, and lecherous behavior mitigates at least three lawsuits in my opinion. Perhaps they could replace the show with The Muppets. It would make a much better use of the TV slot.
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WOW SUED AGAIN? FAMILY GUY CAN'T BE CANCELLED BECAUSE ITS AUDIENCE WON'T ALLOW IT TO BE.
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It's not anyone's fault but the writers'.
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Oh, Why must family guy get sued all the time!

This is really stupid!
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Everyones trying to sue everyone...who cares if they copied just a little bit, it's not like he's losing money...
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family guy sued, again!,now this is bison chips!
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if they stole the mans idea then they should pay up if not shup up and give him a slap in the face who cares really
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oh my god. people need to chill. family guy is like amazing. that magician should like thank god that his work or whatever was on family guy. jeeeez.
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as a footnote to my last comment, it must be said to those people who think that people only sue when they run out of money. you're very nieve, i will except that a number of legal battles are fought purely on a fiscal basis but if they win their case it just shows their complaint was valid.



and just because you think a stolen reworking of a song is "better than the original" it doesn't make it ok to steal it.
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While i love family guy's subversive nature and would imagin that this latest law suit came as a bit of a shock, copyright is their to protect the ideas of the people who have them. I whole-heartedly support the copyright system and i'm sure the creators of family guy would feel the same way if they felt they were being stolen from.



as for the "when you wish upon a star" parody. i didn't hear a single anti-semetic coment. just because it makes light of the jewish comunity it's not really abusive or offencive, excepting the line "even though they killed my lord" which well if you believe in that whole biblical thing, it's true! people shouldn't take their own cultures so seriously, and more to the point, people shouldn't get offended on the behalf of other nationalities or beliefs.
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Well, the issue for me is if it's true. If credit is due to a song writer for a sample, then what credit is due from a cartoon for its take on another person's material, at all . . . What permission to do a star wars parody, or have another cartoon's character a part of a scene, . . what laws are on the books, and how much of those laws are taken for a liberty ride? Do you get approval before . . or after . . ? And despite the art, where's the money going?
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that mage is a ****
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Screw copyrights, Paris Hilton now 'owns' the phrase "thats hot", uh oh she might sue me for saying it, and someone bought the rights to the song happy birthday. What the hell is up with this? just another has been looking for another paycheck!! these people should be sued for stupidity. cant we just watch what we enjoy and laugh at whats funny anymore?
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Did I read this right? The copyright infringement happened in 2005 (or 2004, when the movie was written), yet Metrano only copyrighted his act in August of 2007. How could Family Guy writers intentionally defame and misappropriate Metrano's "joke" if it wasn't copyrighted at the time? The only evidence that it was Metrano's "signature" act was a talk show performance in 1969, seven years before the Copyright Act of 1976 was passed.

Something seems fishy here. What would Metrano copyright? Singing and doing stupid tricks? Comedic irony? Seems like family guy used the joke in a completely different context (one that somehow "defamed" Metrano without mentioning his name...). But whatever. I'm sure Fox will just settle for $2 million anyway.
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as much as i love family guy because the jokes are funny, unfortunately you just cant go and steal other peoples material. For comedians it is one of the worst things someone can do.



on top of that, even though family guys jokes are funny, the show should never be compared to simpsons or south park, because they use clever, smart, whitty humour. not just "remember that time....."
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When someone runs of of money they just decide to sue, pretty pathetic.
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Sometimes it seems like people sit around and look for reasons to sue. Sad, really.
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Wow. That magician dude needs to get a life.
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Metrano probably sits down every night and watches Family Guy saying "Wow I wish people knew me like they know this show." People really need to get a life, even if Family Guy ripped off of Metrano's act, (Which I highly doubt), Metrano should realize that imitation is a type of flattery.
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lol
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Family guy sued again??? Man that sucks.
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WOW!!! Is anyone at this point even shocked about it?



The whole aim of these shows is to stir up controversy, so suits are bound to happen along the way, that's what makes them so funny.
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Okay, They are not trying to copy this Metrano guy at all. What the intent of the bit was to show you that Jesus was not what he seemed to be. I agree with Bangor09. It's Jesus who should sue for being made to look like an idiot who duped the masses. It's like what South Park did in the episode where Jesus had everyone turn around so he cold perform his so called "miracles". Besides I think every kid I grew up with use to do that stupid little finger tricks. Metrano doesn't have a leg to stand on and if I were family guy I would not give him anything.
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You know im getting sick of family guy getting sued its been like what 2 years since that episode aired and now he decides to sue!
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Carlos - Please get a life.
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What's up with all these people suing over old episodes? "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein" wasn't even originally aired! It only became so because it was so popular. If they can get away with suing them to get in on profits of old or unpopular property, then every song done by the rap biz with a sample in it is in jeopardy. It's a comedy show that blatantly parodies all sorts of things! It's not like he said it was his own.
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I have a home video of me humming that song when i was 8, can I sue family guy too?
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That movie's old it took him that long to sue i think the court should drop it due to the fact that was like 4 years ago!
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Please, this is another case of someone getting pissed cause they were parodied by Family Guy....
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This guy is stupid, He does not claim to be imitating Jesus in his act, so its not a copy.
It was obvious from the first time I watched that scene from Family Guy that it was meant to show a tired old 'crappy' performance.
It was almost as crappy as the original.
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that's weird, I don't see Jesus suing Family Guy, and Boy, would He really have a case!!!!
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When it comes to things of this nature, intent is everything. In this case, the question that must be asked is was the intent to steal material simply because of a lack of creativity, or was the intent that part of the scene was specifically intended as a parody of the act?



Given that there is virtually no variation between the two, and the nature of the writing on the show(often referencing and parodying vague and lesser known bits of pop culture history) that it almost certainly has to be the latter - which would mean that the Family Guy scene falls under protected speech.



Of course when it comes down to it, the point of lawsuits such as this to begin with are to be a nuisance and simply get a fast out of court settlement from the network's fund already set aside for such things, so I doubt anyone is under any illusions to the contrary.
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Please I was doing that exact bit when I was 14. so unless Metrano did this bit pre 1978 I think he owes me a lil scratch. Didn't they do a South Park like this (Simpsons Did It).
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Maybe it's me, but I totally got that the whole Jesus thing was based on Metrano's bit from years ago. I'm sure the writers knew exactly what they were doing and basing the bit on. That's the thing...it's called parody.
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Whizkid103, you can't steal something that legally doesn't belong to someone. That guy probably took it from someone else and is now shocked that someone took what he claims is his.
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That guys an idiot - if family guy chose to use material i had thought up id me honoured man!!!
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They stole it. I mean, it's obvious. C'mon Family Guy, get it together
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oh my goodness.. this is why people are insane.. yes u shouldnt use someones material but does everyone really need to sue at the drop of a hat??
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Weird how Family Guy is getting sued left and right. Hopefully all of these lawsuits won't affect the continuation of airing Family Guy.
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maybe if jesus were humming some other tune, but as much as i love family guy, it's clear they stole if from the guy. that's just lame.
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WAAAAAAAA!
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what the?
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That is one way to get publicity. If the public doesn't take note of you because of what you do, sue someone. Old story.
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Are you kidding me?
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Its a show that's meant to poke fun at life which it does, why can't people understand that as soon as your on TV your going to get targeted.
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What the hell is Seth supposed to do, everytime he uses on a joke on his show he should check the archives to see if it's been done already.
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They can just say the bit was satirizing both Jesus and Metrano at the same time.
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family guy is the best show ever.. just because they copy a stupid thing (i dont know how to call it lol)the guy sued them !!
if he stop using things that other people do the show will lost a bit of funny.
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MAUSER!!!! lol But really, I thought satire was protected by the first amendment.
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