UPDATE, Tuesday 12 p.m.: Mark Anthony Baca told TheWrap that, after being approached by Viacom, his show was changed to fit the legal definition of parody. He also maintained that his show contained anti-bullying segments.
Baca also said that the Turtles parodies show has ended its run, and that he is moving on to a new show with his own brand.
Cowabunga! Viacom is harnessing the power of its legal team to shut down a live-action show that they say is ripping off its beloved “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” property.
In its lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in New Mexico, Viacom says that the “Ninja Turtles Live Action Parody” show is an infringement on “TMNT,” and despite defendants Mark Anthony Baca and Guardian Anti-Bullying Campaign admitting the infringement and agreeing to knock it off, the show ha gone on — hence the lawsuit.
“Defendants do not have a license or other form of authorization from Viacom to make use of any of Viacom’s copyrights or trademarks in any way,” the suit reads.
According to the suit, the show makes use of Viacom’s characters Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and others, and of the characters’ “distinctive costumes.”
Viacom insists that, despite the billing, the live-action show is “not a parody” and “provides no meaningful commentary upon, or criticism of, the Ninja Turtles.” And while the show is billed as having an anti-bullying message, “bullying is not the focus of the Show. At bottom, the Show is centered around Viacom’s Ninja Turtles Properties, which Defendants have no authorization to use.”
And despite copying the Ninja Turtles, the suit says, the show “is an amateur production with unprofessional actors.”
TheWrap has reached out to Guardian Anti-Bullying Campaign for comment on the suit.
Alleging copyright infringement and other counts, the suit is seeking an end to the alleged infringement, and unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.