Netflix’s popular Tiger King documentary series is problematic for a horde of reasons, a list that now allegedly includes copyright infringement. The two seasons of the Netflix documentary series follow subjects involved in the disturbing world of exotic animal dealers, but it appears that a few seconds of the show also included footage from an existing movie, footage that the producers of the show were never given permission to use.
Morgan Creek Productions has now sued Netflix and the Tiger King producers for copyright infringement over the use of footage from Jim Carrey‘s 1995 comedy sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The suit claims that two different clips of Carrey’s character were included in a montage on an episode of Tiger King.
“Leaving no room for doubt as to the source, a dubbed-over voice identifies one such movie as Ace Ventura, at the precise time when the Infringing Clips appear on screen,” the lawsuit against Netflix and Goode Films states. “Plantiff is informed and believes, and thereupon alleges, that Ace Ventura is the only film used in Tiger King where more than one clip appears.”
One of the clips from Ace Ventura shows Carrey with “a monkey wrapped around his neck and shoulder,” per the lawsuit. The other features the comedy star “triumphantly riding an elephant.” The two clips combine for about five seconds of screen time. The suit alleges that the clips “enhance the commercial value of Tiger King,” a series that has been viewed by millions of people around the globe.
The character of Ace Ventura is one that loves animals, while the majority of the subjects in Tiger King have a long history of animal abuse. Joe Exotic, the most prominent subject in the first season of the series, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for his crimes, which include a murder-for-hire plot against Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin.
“The series was filled with sordid tales of animal abuse, voluminous guns and a quixotic bid for the U.S. presidency,” the lawsuit reads. “Most significantly, 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.”
Morgan Creek Productions is seeking statutory damages and attorney’s fees, in addition to asking that the defendants be permanently prohibited from using clips owned by the company.