South Park Sued Over Big Bad Lollipop

from the imaginationland-property dept

South Park is certainly no stranger to insane copyright lawsuits. Some time ago, they survived a suit over having character Butters parody Brownmark Films' "What What (In The Butt)" music video. In that case, South Park relied on a strong Fair Use claim over what was clearly a nod to the original video.

But now we learn of a new copyright lawsuit over the inclusion of a character called the Lollipop King in South Park's Imagination Land trilogy. The claim here is as bizarre as the South Park trilogy that is allegedly infringing. A guy named Exavier Wardlaw claims he created a show years ago called The Lollipop Forest in which one of the characters, Big Bad Lollipop, is the clear inspiration for the Lollipop King South Park character. His inspiration for the lawsuit is, apparently, the rather, uh, not nice things that Trey Parker and Matt Stone subject the Lollipop King to.
In his suit, Wardlaw claims "Lollipop Forest" is a wholesome family show -- and it's value was diminished when the Big Bad Lollipop ripoff was exposed to "unwholesome language and sexual innuendo."

FYI -- during the "South Park" episode ... Lollipop King gets choked out by a Storm Trooper ... witnesses the carnage of a suicide bomber ... and gets a front row seat as Kyle performs a sexual act of an oral nature on Cartman's nether region (... it was a crazy episode).
Indeed, almost as crazy as Wardlaw insisting that his character was the basis for the Lollipop King, seeing as how the two characters look nothing alike (beyond being lollipops, of course). In fact, the absurdity of this claim in an episode where the disputed character, which South Park sources indicate is an original, is shown alongside such obvious non-original characters like storm troopers and Snarf, is almost too much to handle.

South Park's Lollipop King


and... the Big Bad Lollipop. I know I can hardly tell the difference.
Bizarrely, this isn't the first time that someone has suggested that South Park copied The Lollipop King. A group called TLG Media put out a satirical video with its own Lollipop King, and when South Park came out with its own, they took it (mostly) in stride, first pointing out their logical and emotional reactions: "My common sense says 'No, anybody could come up with a 'lollipop king'' but my ego says 'Those motherfuckers ripped us off! Fucking Motherfuckers!'" But then concluded that "ours is way better because he's insane." But not insane enough to actually think the South Park guys copied him.

And beyond the question of any actual copying that might have occurred (a dubious claim, at best), this is yet another case that demonstrates the overblown nature of tarnishment accusations. Can anyone with a straight face say they really think that The Lollipop Forest (whatever the hell that is; I couldn't find any IMDB credits) had its value tarnished by South Park's Imagination Land trilogy? Unless you're in the middle of one epically large stroke, the only sensible answer is "no". Hopefully, this suit gets punted out of the legal system post-haste.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:25pm

    When will people learn to differentiate ideas from their respective executions? While (maybe) the idea of the character may be the same (srsly...) the end result is different and each character has its own perks and uniqueness.

    Indeed one more reason why we need weaker copyright laws.

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      Exactly. It's the same with patents where we have companies copyrighting or patenting an idea rather than their application of an idea.

      I like to look at the positive in cases like these so here it is. They strengthen the case for reform of the copyright/patent reform.

       

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      I think it's more that people see how easy it is to use the legal system to get money from supposed copyright infringement.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    That lion in the foreground is totally a ripoff of Azlan. Or Simba.

     

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    Lord Binky, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    I own all characters that consist of Anthropormorphic Candy including but not limited to Royal, Noble, Peasant, Undead, Magical, Supernatural Anthropormorphic Candy beings.

    I claimed it. It's mine now. MUAHAHAHAHA.

     

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    Lord Binky, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    To show that South Park's episode possibly tarnished "The Lollipop Forest" (and wasn't that a location in Candy Land first?) wouldn't you have to first show that at least one person watched both, and then explain how they are still so wholesome to consider one tarnishes the other?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    At first I thought that second image (the actually show) was from that crappy Cartoon Network show. (You know which one I'm talking about.)

     

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    Beech, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    I want to make a computer program that searches stock photos of animals and inanimate objects and adds cartoony faces to them. Before too long I bet i could have a preemptive copyright on just about any imaginable new cartoon character!

     

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    The Lollipop Guild, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    We represent The Lollipop Guild. And in the name of The Lollipop Guild, we will sue your a** from here to Munchkinland.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Or maybe this is just a publicity stunt to get people to look up Lollipop Forest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 5:02pm

    Wow...

    Did it really take them five years to decide to file this suit? Seriously? Original air date: 10/17/2007

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 9:56pm

    ROFL I cannot wait to see what they will do on South Park to fire back at this bogus lawsuit. You know it's gonna be bad in a fucking hilarious way.
    They could kill him off and turn him into Saddam's new lover. They could also place him on the moon with Tom Cruise "the fudge packer" rofl.

     

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    Dannie blaze (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 12:16am

    sorry but, that second image... Why Hello there, High Octane Nightmare Fuel!

    Wholesome family show? Not with characters looking like that. South Park should counter-sue the guy for false advertising. *shivers*

     

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    Charles K. (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    What's really funny is that if you watch the "making of" video you can spot a giant mural on the building where they made The Lollipop Forrest [sic] that clearly features characters from a very well-known anime show that I'm almost certain aren't licensed.

     

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    Jeff C., Oct 16th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    This makes me angry

    I feel like we should all rise up and start a ruckus about this lawsuit to help them show how bogus this.
    We got your back guys!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2012 @ 3:26am

    You can see the uncanny resemblance... if you have an extremely rare and improbable case of colorblindness where all shades of red, white, and blue look exactly the same.

     

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