'South Park' sued for ripping off 'What What (In the Butt)' music video; Comedy Central claims fair use

The producers of South Park, along with Comedy Central and parent company Viacom, are being sued for stealing from the viral video sensation “What What (In the Butt).” The suit alleges that in the April 2, 2008 episode “Canada on Strike,” the character of Butters “and his incorrigible cohorts” created a music video that is “a nearly frame-by-frame recreation of the heart of…’What What (In the Butt)’.” The video’s creators, Brownmark Films, are seeking an injunction from the re-broadcast or continued streaming of the South Park episode, and “maximum statutory damages.” Since it was posted in February 2007, the music video in question has been viewed over 33 million times on YouTube.

In a statement to EW, Comedy Central says that “courts have consistently recognized that parody enjoys broad protections under the First Amendment and the Copyright Act.” The network contends the “What What (In the Butt)” parody “is fully protected against any copyright infringement claims under the fair-use doctrine and the First Amendment and we plan to vigorously defend those rights.”

The suit comes just a few weeks after South Park creators and showrunners Trey Parker and Matt Stone publicly apologized for lifting dialogue from a College Humor Inception parody.

Watch the original “What What (In the Butt)” music video:

And South Park‘s parody:

Read more:
‘South Park’ apologizes for stealing ‘Inception’ parody dialogue

Comments (24 total) Add your comment
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  • Daniel F

    Um, it was meant to be a shot-for-shot parody. This would be like if Studio Ghibli decided to sue for last week’s shot-for-shot “My Neighbor Totoro”/Cthulu sequence. Ridiculous.

    • Heather

      Wait what? They parodied Totoro? OMGLOL, I do hope that’s online somewhere!!

  • Clay

    The entire episode was about the commercial viability of viral videos. Oh, well. I guess we can expect a pending lawsuit from “Dramatic Chipmunk.”

    • AcaseofGeo

      Is this show even still on? Does anyone even watch this show? I’m sure Trey and Math begged the people to sue them so they’d get some publicity. I thought this show went off the air in July of 2004.

      • Anne

        What a lame attempt on your part to “pretend” you didn’t know the show was still on and doing pretty well for its age. Yes, alot of people still watch this show; my teenage son and his friends have just discovered it and love it. What are you watching, Sarah Palin’s Alaska?

  • BJohnson

    I’m sorry, when you have a song and video called “What What (In the Butt) you deserve more parody than South Park’s minute.
    I’m gonna assume that they did this for publicity cause I know that I would never search these words together on youtube.

  • Daw Johnson

    Won’t go anywhere, but part of being a parody is that it actually has to be a “parody.” It’s the same reason the Carol Burnett/Family Guy lawsuit was conceivable.

    • HalvyBuckets

      Actually Carol Burnett sued over her likeness being used, it wasn’t that they did a parody.

  • Kaelyn

    How can you sue Butters?

    • LOL

      Aw, hamburgers!

    • Dave

      Right? Butters can do no wrong.

      • Fido

        I always wondered what Matt Stone did, Trey seemingly writing everything. Then I found out Matt voiced Butters. Matt immediately became awesome :)

  • Stacy

    What a pretentious prick this writer is.
    Instead of just calling himself Adam Vary like a normal person would, he calls himself Adam B. Vary to try and make himself sound important.
    What a d0uchen0zzle.

    • Dave

      GO be a b*tch elsewhere.

    • Grace

      You know nothing. There is likely another registered writer elsewhere named Adam Vary and he did it for legal reasons, just like David Bowie (stage name because he’s Davey Jones, like the guy from the Monkees), Samuel L. Jackson and Vivaca A. Fox and a goodly number of other writers, musicians, actors, entertainers, and performers.

  • Traci

    The singer of What What in the Butt was on Tosh.0 and talked about the South Park bit. I thought he said South Park asked if they could use it.

  • darclyte

    What next, will Warner Brothers sue them for having Cartman and Cthulu interact in a nearly exact remake of Pu$$yfoot and Mark Anthony from the classic Looney Toons cartoons?

  • Jeannette

    The video was funny for five minutes in 2007…I can’t believe he cares *now* about something that appeared in 2008. If anything he should feel honored that South Park parodied him at all!

  • marie j

    obviously, those morons need money! LOL!

  • Kyle

    The funny thing is, Samwell licensed the song to Comedy Central for use in the episode. The creators of the video are just trying to take advantage of the video. Maybe they can sue them for ten million theoretical dollars?

  • Ruddigore

    But it was OK for the makers of the Samwell video to parody the rose petal scene from American Beauty?

  • terry

    OH NO! If Butters loses and doesn’t pay up he could go to prison and what chance would he have there after singing What, What In the Butt?

  • johnny

    Let’s see…

    who has more lawyer money:

    the creator of the original video

    ~or~

    Comedy Central?

    Anyone? Anyone? Ferris?

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