Portrait of Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland, creator of the House of Cosbys, y'see. Rudy!

It’s Cartoon Friday, again!

This week’s selection is House of Cosbys, a short cartoon series created for the Channel101 media collective by writer and voice actor Justin Roiland. Channel101 is an “Internet television channel” whose programming is voted on by the audience at a weekly, open screening. A show is canceled when it falls out of favor with that random audience.

Except House of Cosbys wasn’t canceled by the audience, but by a Cease & Desist letter from Bill Cosby’s attorney, despite the fact that its content may very well be covered by parody. From Wikipedia:

House of Cosbys was cancelled when series creator Justin Roiland and Channel 101′s site administrator Dan Harmon received a cease and desist letter from Bill Cosby‘s attorney[1] in June 2005:

Dear sirs, we are lawyers for Mr. William H Cosby, Jr. We have just learned that you offer a deeply offensive animated film that you created, entitled “House of Cosbys”. [...] As you are certainly aware, none of you are licensed or in any way authorized to use Mr. Cosby’s voice, name, or likeness. [...] Therefore, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from any use of our client’s name, voice, and likeness, including the development and distribution of the “House of Cosbys” series.

Very truly yours,
John P. Schmitt [2]

One of the issues under contention is whether House of Cosbys is covered under the fair use, as parody. Supporters point out that many TV shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons have used Cosby’s likeness, and have not been sued. However, there also is the factor that House of Cosbys used risqué subject matter not in keeping with Cosby’s character and comedy.

In any case, you can still enjoy the cartoon thanks to the magic of the Internet.

And, since I’m not actually here to chat about this cartoon (I’m at a campout today and Richard Taylor is hosting), I’ll leave you a special bonus — you can watch all four episodes, the complete series. A fifth episode was created by a fan, but consists of almost entirely cuss words directed at Bill Cosby and his lawyer — I’ll let you look it up yourselves if you just have to see it (you don’t).

What are your favorite cartoons? I might use one for a future installment.

 

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What’s on your mind tonight? It’s an open conversation in the comments.

Photo by Justin Roiland, released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.