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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Court Fight Over|Rude Teddy Bears

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The creator of a web series about a foul-mouthed, misbehaving teddy bear claims in court that "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane ripped off the character for his 2012 R-rated comedy, "Ted."

In a federal lawsuit, Bengal Mangle Productions claims it debuted its show "Acting School Academy" on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, FunnyorDie and Vimeo and other sites in the summer of 2009.

Like "Ted," the show centers on a teddy bear, who has a "penchant for drinking, smoking, prostitutes, and is a generally vulgar yet humorous character," the July 15 lawsuit states.

Bengal says it created a spin-off web series called "Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear" that gained 1.2 million viewers between July 2009 and June 2012.

"Each episode of 'Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear' features Charlie's original character traits, including that Charlie has all human friends, hates vegetables, has anger-management problems, is a washed-up child star, has a penchant for drinking alcohol, drugs, and prostitutes, and is often violent, both physically and verbally," the complaint states.

According to Bengal, MacFarlane was active on FunnyorDie when "Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear" was on the site, and before "Ted" was released in theaters in the summer of 2012. It claims that Ted is "strikingly similar" to the Charlie teddy bear they created, not only in appearance but in the characterization of Ted as a "vulgar teddy bear," heavy drinker and former child star.

"Defendants copied Charlie to create the Ted character without plaintiff's authorization, which constitutes infringement of plaintiff's copyright in the Charlie character," the 16-page lawsuit states.

Named as defendants are Seth MacFarlane, production company Fuzzy Door Productions, distributor Media Rights Capital II, MRC II Distribution, and Thunder Buddies. Universal Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal City Studios are also named in the complaint for copyright infringement.

Bengal seeks actual, compensatory and statutory damages, disgorgement of profits, costs and an injunction.

"Ted" was one of the surprise hits of 2012, surpassing other R-rated comedies to take in more than $500 million worldwide. A "Ted" follow-up is in the works. It will reunite MacFarlane, who voiced "Ted," with Mark Wahlberg, who plays his human friend.

Bengal Mangle is represented by Neville Johnson with Johnson & Johnson of Beverly Hills.

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