'Family Guy' Sued

A publishing company has filed a federal lawsuit against Fox and the Family Guy creator and producers over the classic tune "When You Wish Upon a Star."
On 4 October, New York-based Bourne Co. filed a copyright breach lawsuit against Fox, Cartoon Network and Family Guy, in which the music publisher alleged that the animated TV show violated Bourne's copyright to the Oscar-winning song "When You Wish Upon a Star," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Leslie Simmons.

The specifically-named Family Guy creator/star Seth MacFarlane and composer Walter Murphy, along with Fuzzy Door Productions, the suit claimed, illegally lifted the tune for their own ditty, "I Need a Jew" -- sung by patriarch Peter Griffin (MacFarlane) in the episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein."

Griffin sings the song in an elaborate musical production after deciding he needs to hire a Jew to handle his finances.

The episode did not air (as originally planned) in 2000, allegedly due to its offensive nature, and finally was broadcast Nov. 10, 2003, on Cartoon Network's 'Adult Swim.' MacFarlane regularly performs the song on the 'Family Guy Live!' tour.

"I Need a Jew" is "a thinly veiled copy" of the song made famous in Disney's 1940 film Pinocchio, read the lawsuit filed in Manhattan's U.S. District Court.

"If you listen to the structure of the lyrics, the song, the name of the episode and how [Peter's] singing out the window to the stars, there's no question they were using the song," Bourne's attorney Paul Fakler said.

The fan-favorite ditty begins "Nothing else has worked so far/ So I'll wish upon a star/ Wondrous shining speck of light/ I need a Jew," and continues "Though by many they're abhorred/ Hebrew people I've adored/ Even though they killed my Lord/ I need a Jew."

Bourne states that its reputation has been damaged "by associating the famous song with a vile and outrageous anti-Semitic message."

Said Fox TV Wednesday: "We have not yet seen the complaint and have no comment at this time."

[Thanks to Animation World Network for the heads-up, and to E!Online's Gina Serpe for additional material.]
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Hollywood Reporter