Comedian's Humorless Battle Against 'Family Guy' Enters Eighth Year

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Comedian's Humorless Battle Against 'Family Guy' Enters Eighth Year

Mon Sep 29, 2008 @ 06:26PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Metranoart Comedian and actor Art Metrano continues to hound "Family Guy" for ripping off his routines.

Metrano, who is best known for performing magic on "The Tonight Show" in the 1970s and later starring as Capt. Mauser in two "Police Academy" films, has made a habit of filing lawsuits in Los Angeles against makers of the animated show. In 2000, he sued Fox Broadcasting, only to withdraw his complaint. Last year, he sued 20th Century Fox for producing a spin-off film entitled "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story," only to withdraw the complaint again in March. According to a document filed at the time, the two parties "initiated discussions potentially to resolve this matter."

Those negotiations apparently were fruitless as Metrano has refiled his $2 million lawsuit against 20th Century Fox yet again.

Metrano has a tough road ahead. Intellectual property has rarely protected comedians against joke theft. In fact, Metrano has attempted and failed to register his routine with the Copyright Office. (He's appealing.) And Metrano may wish to consult with Carol Burnett about how her legal squibble with "Family Guy" went.

Last year, TMZ posted a comparison between Metrano's routine and Stewie's vision of Jesus. Theft or parody? You be the judge.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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