An appeals court has refused to revive a lawsuit against Viacom
subsidiary Comedy Partners over a viral Internet video that was
allegedly misappropriated in an episode of South Park.
Last summer, a Wisconsin federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by Brownmark Films, owner of web video sensation What What (In the Butt) from the singer Samwell. The judge decided that the South Park parody of the video was a clear case of “fair use.”
On Thursday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that while judges
can’t always address affirmative defenses like fair use in deciding
when to dismiss lawsuits, when they have the relevant facts before them,
judges have discretion to toss a case at the preliminary stage.