Seth MacFarlane stole the vulgar bear idea, according to a recent lawsuit. The bear idea was used in the 2012 movie Ted, which involved a large cuddly toy bear drinking, smoking and using foul language. It was a fun character idea to ruin the memories of having a cuddly toy bear as a child, but was not as original as many believed according to the case.
Bengal Mangle Productions claims that it create the idea of the vulgar bear first, and MacFarlane stole that. In 2009, Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear was created, who enjoyed drinking and smoking, along with prostitutes. He was supposed to be a vulgar but funny character. While there are cases where ideas are mimicked, the team believes that the idea of Ted was too close to Charlie. Their dialogue, verbal tone and personas are too similar for it to be a coincidence.
Because of all this, Bengal Mangle Productions claims that its copyright has been violated. It wants compensation for this, especially considering just how popular Ted became and how it has gone onto a sequel.
There are some who may believe that the suing of the director is jealousy, and that MacFarlane did not really steal the vulgar bear idea. Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear never took off the way that Ted did. In fact, Charlie is only available on Funny or Die or YouTube. The videos have been watched in the small thousands, with some reaching 10,000.
Meanwhile, MacFarlane’s character has managed to gross $549 million around the world so far. There is more to come with the sequel being released in 2015. The Family Guy producer took to Twitter on Wednesday to say how hard he is working on the sequel.
This is not the first time an A-lister or popular director has been sued for copyright infringement. At the start of 2014 Daniel Clowes threatened to sue Shia LaBeouf for plagiarism. According to Clowes, his cartoon Justin M. Damiano was usedfor LaBeouf’s short film HoawrdContour.com.
In 2013, Usher and Justin Bieber also faced a lawsuit for copyright infringement. The song Somebody to Love was said to have a similar style and lyrics to a song of the same name written by Mareio Overton and Devin Copeland. The lawsuit, which was for over $10 million stated that a number of producers and songwriters were involved in the copying of the song.
There are times that people understand these things happen. An idea cannot be copyrighted and there are only so many ideas out there. However, to take an idea and do something completely different with it is one thing. When it comes to MacFarlane, Bengal Mangle Productions claims that the use of the idea is too similar. When looking at Ted and then at Charlie it is understandable why the production team would believe that.
Only time will tell just how far this goes, and what it will mean for the sequel. Some of these lawsuits work out in the claimant’s favor, and can lead to the end of a possible franchise. However, another option is that the claimant gets a cut of the profits. Either could happen if a judge rules that MacFarlane did steal the vulgar bear idea.