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.