Tiger King Producers Sued Over Use Of Ace Ventura 2 Clips

The Tiger King changed his passion for glory, and now the producers of his docuseries will have to have the eye of the tiger. Netflix and Goode Films, LLC were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Court on Monday; they'll have to rise up to the challenge of their rival, Morgan Creek Entertainment, which alleges that copyrighted film clips were used for promotional purposes in the popular, messy 2020 docuseries, "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness." The show concerns the strange, egocentric world of big cat breeding, the wild criminal underworld adjacent to it, and the bizarre cast of characters populating it that seem straight out of a Christopher Guest mockumentary. The star of this circus is big cat zoo owner Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known as "Joe Exotic" to friends and rivals alike. Joe Exotic, activist Carole Baskin, and a cadre of insecure predators captivated viewers in the spring of 2020, making "Tiger King" a hit.

The court case was filed by the Law Office of David Berke on behalf of Morgan Creek Productions, the entity that produced "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls." The suit alleges that two unauthorized clips from the film were used in "Tiger King" episodes, a series that the lawsuit contends is "filled with sordid tales of animal abuse, voluminous guns and a quixotic bid for the U.S. presidency."

"Most significantly," the lawsuit alleges, "the program followed a murder-for-hire plot aimed at a competing animal sanctuary owner, hated by Joe Exotic, and seen as a threat to his 'big cat' empire." This is in reference to Carole Baskin, on whom Exotic attempted to put a hit out, and for which he is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence.

Alrighty Then...

According to the lawsuit, the two clips in question are among the tamer sections of "When Nature Calls." One clip shows Ace Ventura, played by star Jim Carrey, standing with a "monkey wrapped around his neck and shoulder" and the other has the lead actor "triumphantly riding an elephant." 

Because these clips, totaling five seconds of screen time, were intercut into a "Tiger King" sequence that includes exotic animals and had additional voice-over identifying the movie by name, Morgan Creek contends that "Plantiff [sic] is informed and believes, and thereupon alleges, that 'Ace Ventura' is the only film used in 'Tiger King' where more than one clip appears," and that unauthorized images were used to elevate the docuseries' commercial value. Morgan Creek asserts that it did try to resolve the dispute prior to filing the lawsuit, but now seeks statutory damages, attorney's fees, and a request that the defendants be permanently prohibited from using any clips owned by Morgan Creek.