Music Publishing Company Sues 'Family Guy'
Music Publishing Company Sues 'Family Guy'
Family Guy has been sued by Bourne Company, a music publishing company that owns the rights to the Oscar-winning Pinocchio song, “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

The company has filed a copyright breach lawsuit against the FOX network and the animated series' creator and producers, claiming they illegally lifted the tune and tainted the company by remaking the song with “anti-Semitic lyrics.”

In the Family Guy episode entitled “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” Peter Griffin, one of the show's main characters, begins singing the song, “I Need a Jew” upon realizing it is necessary for him to organize his finances.  Bourne, which filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in Manhattan's U.S. District Court, claims the song is a “thinly veiled copy” of “When You Wish Upon a Star”, and has damaged the original's standing as a "cultural treasure epitomizing the wonders of childhood."

"With its theme of wholesome hopefulness, the song has gained worldwide status as a classic," the lawsuit read.  "By associating Bourne's song with such offensive lyrics and other content in the episode, defendants are harming the value of the song."

The lawsuit further reads that the song was supposed to be aired in a 2000 episode of Family Guy, but the network apparently decided not to distribute the episode until November 10, 2003 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, recognizing its offensive nature.  Since then, the episode has been aired in syndication.  Creator Seth MacFarlane also sings the tune regularly during the show's live tour.

FOX said they “have not yet seen the complaint and have no comment at this time.”

This is not the first time the show has been slapped with a lawsuit.

Earlier this year, actress-comedienne Carol Burnett filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against Family Guy for copyright infringement, statutory violation of right of privacy and misappropriation of name for a segment parodying Burnett.

The lawsuit was dismissed in June, though the judge wrote in his decision that he "fully appreciates how distasteful and offensive the segment is to Ms. Burnett...  As Ms. Burnett well knows, it takes far more creative talent to create a character such as the Charwoman than to use such characters in crude parody.  Perhaps Ms. Burnett can take some solace in that fact."

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: E! Online
(Image Courtesy of FOX)