Rick & Morty v. Tiarawhy: Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen Taken Down #WTFU

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Rick & Morty v. Tiarawhy: Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen Taken Down #WTFU

16 908 views | 22 Oct. 2018
16 908 views | 22 Oct. 2018

Adult Swim has allegedly taken down the infamous Justin-Roiland-voiced "State of Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen" animation. It turns out the animated version was fan-made and unauthorized. The original voice acting was done by Roiland himself after a Q&A Panel at San Diego Comicon July '16. Let's discuss whether it's protected as a Fair Use of Adult Swim and Justin Roiland's copyrights.

Original Voiceover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vN_PEmeKb0

Also, our special guest, Patent Attorney Kurt Mueller, has produced two videos on the Louis Rossman Apple/Customs battle. Check them out here:

Part 1: https://youtu.be/9RyueEbWu6I

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA9kxNxPuIU


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The Original Gamer

Of course it was fan-made, it said it was. Gee Leonard, I guess even lawyers forget to read the fine print sometimes, LOL. Screw you Adult Swim, you didn't have to do that. And you gained nothing, except maybe backlash.


you guys didnt notice he had characters from futurama in the crowd, now that Adult swim has allowed the video back but monitized it they are stealing money from the company that owns futureama to.


UPDATE - It has been changed from blocked to all monetized going to AS. Fair I guess.

Nicky s

So youtube won't let e watch this it keeps saying error has occurred but I can watch other videos and have tried to reload this one


What if it was published on another channel under a pseudonym not associated with the rest of Tiarawhy's work, would it still be considered commercial use?


Update: The October 2016 video (linked to by Justin Roiland himself in his Twitter feed when it was released) has apparently been unblocked, but is now monetized by Adult Swim. It seems like the video may have stayed up unmolested for as long as it did because Justin Roiland basically endorsed and helped promote it - but then somebody went "Hang on, Justin Roiland doesn't own Rick and Morty, Turner owns Rick and Morty - yoink".


I can see that transformation as being funny, or maybe if the animation was instead of just the judge and defendant spouting off, was instead an animation of the real guy reacting to his case being voiced while watching the animation.

But yeah, not fair use. Adult Swim should have just monetized the video for themselves and let it stay up. Monetizing it would have protected their rights as creators and not left a precedent opened, but would also keep the good will of the creative community.

Then they should have offered the animator a damn job so they wouldn't say anything bad and not have hurt feelings. I mean, from a practical standpoint, it was good animation and shows talent, so snatch it up. On the other hand, you don't want the animator shouting angrily about Adult Swim so as to sour people's opinion: by giving the animator a reward that would be perceived to be greater then taking away part of the modernization of the video, you foster a good public appearance.

A Hettinger

I may not like the outcome, but I still like your discussion. So have a counter-thumbs-up.

Dontrel 3030

I remember once I had both tiarawhy and pokehidden like a post I made on tumblr that blew up and I nearly had a panic attack from pure disgust.


I remember when they were live-streaming themselves animating this and it was so detailed and time consuming that I genuinely thought they were officially animating it for adult swim.

Para Bellum

To be fair, you have to have a pretty high IQ to understand copyright law.

Nelson Di Salvatore

What they took that down!!!


QUESTION: since this skit was based on a 'lost' episode of The People's Court, could could that be a factor in this? Could Adult Swim have acted to take this down because this was a transcript from and unaired episode of The People's Court?



Ignoring the fact that the whole point of putting out a voiced, half-animated sketch was so that the community could finish it. Adult Swims lawyers just jumped the gun I think.


Off the street fair use is not making money. Most people think it's fair use if you don't make any money. I was in the boat until a few years ago myself.


i just realized that tiarawhy of all people made that.
hadn't heard that name since the mlp memes from 2011-2
lets just say i dont listen to Pendulum much anymore...

Frank Echanique

Suing your fans is always great for your brand right?... fair use is obviously misused but lets face it copyright has become a disease on society as a whole


Looks like it's back up. I just watched it on tiarawhys channel.

Dyionisis Yhe horned one

I actually remember that skit! It was brilliant!


Personally, I wish that these kinds of works were allowed. Yet still have the protections in place, like plagiarism (but even that is still a gray area).


The animation is very good. I only knew it was made by a fan because i saw a few videos of him making it. Otherwise, it could have been aired on TV and no one would have known.

Lord Fluffypants

Can the original non-animation even be counted as copyright material though? (aside from being voiced from Justin Roiland, and using the characters Rick and Morty which are copyright) My understanding was the original skit didn't create any new dialogue and just read from a public transcript of the actual court case. So is it just a copyright of the voice-over of the transcript then? like an audio-book of a non copyright book type of situation, except now the audio-book has animation without permission?

Crimson Halo

When a person has this much talent, why waste time riding someone else's IP at all? Part of a formal education in animation and digital design is the copyright talk. Blatantly copied material like this would be a guaranteed FAIL in a university program. It's also a huge red flag to employers because it shows the artist is willing to expose themselves to legal risk. This would be especially relevant in the US where litigation is a far more frequent and significant concern.


I loved watching the livestreams of this animation being made. It was on ongoing thing for at least a week or two.


Help! Where is the 'Don't like that button'?

Christopher Kendall

It's a shame that the video got taken down, but at least this will bring some attention to Tiarawhys' other projects


that's... thats a lot of MLP porn.


Oh shoot. It is back up. Monitization not allowed.

Sad Koi

I've been watching your videos for over a year. WHY THE HELL HAVE I NOT SUBSCRIBED BEFORE TODAY?? I love your conversations. They're amazing and so informative.


So a show... developed based on Back to the Future and which was edited on grounds of it being too close... Now takes down a video based on it. That is some hypocritical BS.

James Brooks

i'm glad that copystrike is now a part of the vernacular

Strelok Audio Design

Mah man Tiara!


Hasbro has done the same thing with many of the animators who have created My Little Pony fan parody fan animations that were too similar to the show. And once again, it was a case of "Fair use", but the animators just didn't have the cash to fight a big company in a lengthy lawsuit and they wouldn't back down, on takedown requests or threats. This even happened with some animations that weren't similar to the show, would not have been confused for the show at all, were obviously parody, but under the guise of, "Hasbo having a kneejerk reaction that it had to protect it's brand". They were going after all kinds of fan content creators for a while, from what I understand, some even episode reviews.

Amit Patro

Didn't get an alert with notifications on.


I think we really need a "Fanwork Protection Act" that would expand fair use to take into account the structural change the internet has provided in the relationship between creator, fan, and community. Plus the explosion in access to creative tools available to fans. This kind for fan creation is nothing but directly in line with "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..." and an over-all positive to society at large. Not that Turner would care, but they have a very wobbly leg to stand on complaining about copyright infringement in this case seeing they "fair-used" the entire script from the court. I would LOVE to see that judge and nutball team up and take down the "official" Adult Swim version. I know court proceedings are in the public, but if I compose a poem and read it in court of out loud in public, I don't loose my copyright to that work.


I have a question. My main hobby is to build model kits and I actually created my channel to build interesting kits, then discuss each kits....problem being I know any build videos are going to need some kind of music so it won't bore people watching the videos....what could I do to make the videos fair use and thus not get copyright claimed on each video?

Sam Cain

I'm indifferent on whether this was fair use or not; Turner knew about the video for years, they ignored it and willfully didn't monetise it, then out of the blue got rid of it. They are well within their right to, but fuck 'em, that's a scum fuck move. That's not treating fans with respect, that's spitting at them from atop their solid gold tower in the shape of a cock. Even if it's not illegal, it's still morally bankrupt and if they wanted to do something they should've swung their litigious dicks around a long time ago.

But that's not the point of this video, and for what it's worth it's a good explanation of why they are within their rights to do this. Still doesn't make that decision any less of a dick move, mind.

Joshua Blackman

where is the "I disagree with the takedown but not the content of the law or leonard's explanation" button

Fox Mulder

What kind of 360 camera did you use in that New York shot? The footage looked great!

Mark Frellips

'Lawful Leonard Lawyer on the Land' segments would be great fun


Never thought I'd see the day you are making a video about a case involving our fandom's most well known porn creator.

Gumba Masta

Remember how the creator of the show changed it from Doc and Marty to avoid copyright issues caused by the Back of Future Stuff... Ironic

King J Klass

I wanted to put in my 2-cents on this. As an aspiring animator, my interpretation of fair-use had been that as long I dont duplicate the work exactly, Make money by using that work, or use it for educational purposes, that a person would be safe.
Someone should be able to duplicate a majority of the work and ask for a critique of how similar it is to the original and not be flagged. Because copying is one of the best ways to grow as an artist and animator, as long as you're not claiming it as original work.
thats not the case here, but the worst that should happen is that this person can't keep this up on youtube.

Jacob Lojewski

Video's back up, but with Adult Swim taking the monetization. I think this is pretty fair, all in all.

Sebastian Lee

You'd be amazed to see what a lot of these artists get away with. Especially those in the My Little Pony fandom...where Tiarawhy started. Like there would be lawsuits all over the place. Hasbro don't get involved cuz they don't want to have a News Headline that reads "Hasbro Goes After Thousands of Porn Artists".

Nathan Holt

Considering how ppl are theres probably a black market on copy's of the video already for collectors.


gah, that camera at the end gave me motion sickness :P

Michael Harbach

Tiarawhy's animation brought a lot of eyes and new fans to Rick & Morty. It might not be technically fair use, but it caused no harm and did lots of good. What kind legal system allows for laws to be enforced in a manner that causes more damage for everyone?


How interesting. Justin Roiland caught a C&D for his Bill Cosby animation. Now the company who bought the rights to his creative works is dulling out C&D. I don't know if it's ironic but it is interesting.

Valentina V

I remember seeing youtube recommend the live stream of this animation happening at the time. I thought - How is this fair use and how is this allowed. He was clearly producing something that he didn't own. And I actually thought that after reading the script at the convention that the Adult Swim would produce an actual episode. I think this guy may have taken a job from someone. As someone in the industry it is really upsetting that someone took a PAID job and did it for free on youtube. Someone did the original storyboard and got PAID, meanwhile he swooped in and did the rest for free, denying the job for others without actually being hired for it


@Lawful Masses
Could you give in context to this case, your opinion on what could have been the reason for a takedown by Hasbro of "Picture Perfect Pony" (Jananimations) in 2014 (one can still find the animation reuploaded).
There the song was original the animation was also done individually. But in this case the copyright holder send a C&D (for 2-3 animations if I recall correctly).
If even self-made music videos sometimes get struck, I find it hard for the average person to discern, what has enough creation height to be protected from C&Ds when either characters are used from a show or just art style.
That has puzzled me for years.
Thanks for consideration on discussing this case.

Dustin Rodriguez

On the one hand it annoys me that people don't bother to understand Fair Use despite participating in online content creation.... but on the other hand I can't really slight people for taking an approach akin to "Fair Use is what you can get away with." Publishers and legislators have been very vicious, ingracious, and unreasonable with their treatment of the right human society has to create their own culture. They want to have their cake and sell it too. They want to offer creative works to society, have them become world-known.... and yet forbid that society from integrating that creative work into their own culture. That seems like a bridge too far. They create a hostile environment, and being as they often take a "whatever we can get away with" approach, underlaid by no coherent ideas, turnabout really is fair play. "Make game of that which makes as much of thee" -- The Rubiyat of Omar Khayaam.

J. M.

Wearing a Mr. Meseeks hat, in a video discussing a Rick & Morty copyright issue...
Well done, Mr. French. :D


Couldn't AS pull the stick out their ass and just have the vid reposted with Justin reaction to it xD prob solved if Justin gave a bit of consent inside the vid that would void all this bull shit


What about how Adult Swim uploaded the video to their own Youtube channel?

I mean at that point I would say Adult Swim was endorsing the fan made animation, and using it to advertise their show. At least with the way I've heard it before copyright and trademark holders kinda need to defend their copyright or trademark and in this case Adult Swim initially decided to look past their copyright and trademark to support the Judge Morty animation.

Also that idea to use the 360 cam seems like gold.


Copyright laws need some serious work. Why can't you simply slam "fan-content" or something watermark and maker it fair use as long as you don't monetize it? On the other hand stupid copycats with slightly changed names work.
p.s. it is foolish to dislike your video if you weren't one to formulate these laws, haha.

Algolei I

Tiarawhy's video has gone from blocked to monetized for Adult Swim since you posted your video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTWdP5DMdsM


so for settlement. why not a sale of the animation of subject work for $1.00 and she keeps it up on the internet and give up all (future profits from and past) royalties except credit for work. the credit for work is for cv and resume of work for artist/infringer. Why not do that? a document as statement for non-employment/employer situation disclaimer.


Tiarawhy is a girl right?

Tzisorey Tigerwuf

Imagine a world in which, instead of this lawsuit, Adult Swim had asked the animator whether Adult Swim could upload a copy of the video on a second channel dedicated to fan work, with attribution and links to the animator's personal channel. No bad press from a lawsuit, they get free quality work on their own channel, fans have a location they can go to for multiple quality fan work, and can find artists they would like to follow.

Not a legal determination, or proposition, just a "what if"

Marcus Thompson

The copyright laws seem to mostly protect the large money interests and is stacked against the small guy. We should change the law to protect the less powerful people.

RCWard (Arcee)

People really have no idea what Fair Use is

Gerald Grenier

I Suspect much of the extream pushing of fair use is somewhat a reaction to the absurd length of copyright there nothing in from their life time that in pubic domain anymore, theythey know about that they feel they can build on.

Alpaka Whacker

I guess the best example of what people think fair use is (as opposed to what it actually is), are all the "reaction" videos where people will upload videos of them reacting to either songs, other peoples youtube videos, movies/movie trailers etc and include the media that they are reaction to, in full, within their own video. That is absolutely not fair use but they believe it is because they are adding their own content on top of the original video which of course is derivative, not trans-formative. Many even claim fair use claiming that reviews and more importantly news are protected by fair use so therefore their reaction video is also protected.

David Levy

Many people seem to believe that "fair use" means "I can use others' intellectual property in my creative works with impunity, so long as I don't charge money."

Upright Ape

Wait.....you mean I, a sovereign citizen, can't make my own laws and print my own money? Damn.

Aaron SemlerPDX

It's already back up (Rick and Morty video) and monetized by Adult Swim instead of blocked


I always thought that fair use covered taking someone else's work and transforming it into another work that has distinct value outside of the initial work.
Examples: Abridged series - use the art-animation assets of the original series, taking 22 minutes or more of visuals, cutting it down to 5-10 minutes and providing additional editing, voices, narratives, etc that parody the original. In my understanding these were fair uses because they had changed so much of the show that it was a wholly different beast.

Reviews - Use of clips for the purposes of reviewing a show means that people come to see criticism of the show/movie to see if it is a value for the time needed to watch. Clips are used as background settings and to help show off the context of the review.

In both cases I can see an argument that the visuals used are copy-written, however My understanding was always that because the work itself was so different than the original intent and use of the work they were fair game to be shown as part of these projects.

Honestly, I even after watching all your videos I'm still not 100% sure how right or wrong this is.

Laurie Barnes

Leonard, thanks for being here to lay down the facts, whether they are easy to hear or not.

Drew Zrebski

haha, at 12:59 "FUCK PATREON" scrolls on the led.

also the the animated video is back up.


I watched his livestreams working on it. It was clear it was fan made and not affiliated at least during his live streams. If he had it monetized I can see there being a problem though.


The video in question has now been restored on Youtube as of 13 hours ago. Wow... that was fast.


Absolutely not fair use- but still bummed out that it was taken down- Rick and Morty was derivative itself in the first place, the original was called Doc and Mharty after all.


I'm glad it got taken down, I hate Rick and Morty. Although I feel sorry for the person who created it.


looks like the video is back up, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTWdP5DMdsM

5 hours ago (edited)
Video just went from blocked to monetized for AS. This may be really awesome news that Turner reconsidered and chose to monetize and let this stay up. Still waiting for full confirmation but it is public!"

Josh Green

That clip was the reason I discovered Rick and Morty and I have subsequently bought all of the seasons on Amazon as well as multiple T shirts and other Rick and Morty memorabilia so I find it ironic that it has to be taken down I understand why I just don't like it

Joseph Carriveau

Wow you've got a nice yard. You are definitely not convincing me that I should avoid law school like my IRL attorney friends...


Hey, just came across this earlier via reddit. Thought it might make for an interesting vid, hearing your thoughts on this and how it may or may not be copyright infringement since many of the things were copied.. not sure. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGtUULD8U6o

Sean Peery

They brought it back, thank the non-existent God who brought this about.


Street Legal with Leonard French. Your favorite copyright attorney and occasional guests hit the streets and ask the public for their interpretations on legal terms, decisions, and things that aren't law but maybe should be.

Someone make sure that there isn't a show already called Street Legal so Leonard can use it. Other potential names could be Lawful Public, Public Cases, Public's Precedent, Lawful Examination...

Mario D Samano

Can't broadcast this video. Wtf yootoobe

Cu Next Tuesday

hey is this your music? if so very good indeed!


This is not a Fair Use issue. This is a PR issue.


I saw it. It was hilarious, but I didn't know it was work of adult Swim or fan made.


Could Adult Swim have offered TiaraWhy a buy out for exclusive rights to her animation of their property? Is there a strict legal reason why they couldn't?

Mote of Lobross

You're just telling us the law behind it. CN is the jerk.


honestly turner can get fucked along with all the other animation studios that dont like derivative works

they can all go bankrupt and starve


Oh shoot, you hit 100k! Not sure how I missed that, but congrats!!!


Whether or not it was fair use (and I think Tiarawhy only said that because she that's what she thought fan made stuff was under) doesn't this narrow definition make it so that if I were to draw a picture or Rick and/or Morty and posted on my window for people to see, and it looks like an original, it can be hit with a DMCA? Wouldn't all cosplays, fanfics, tribute art, etc. fall into the same category? If that's the case, what fan work can someone draw/make on their own?

Jade Rodriguez

Again instead of focusing on why copyright law is fucked in favor of corporations let's instead punish and criticize a stupid fam animation that was hurting no one.


It's not a fair use cause it wasn't completely a change of forum and it utilized the exact same style making. Now the only problem is there really is no way for proper permission to be granted to the freelancer who was doing a display of his quality of his animation skills. Again for Academic reasons and purposes it is a display of fair use. But you have to state that it is for Academic display of skill. Now the real Argument is where is the line for Academic execution for displaying skill and straight Comercial execution of Displaying skill. That argument hasn't been fully explored and where the biggest level of confusion lays. And there's also the argument of can something made for Entertainment reasons be copied or derived for Academic displays. Now the Argument of can a Academic portfolio be used for Commercial gain is resounding yes and that can and has created issues. Had he stated that it was for Academic purposes and posted on Youtube for the purpose Peer review and continued to not monetize it there's a high probability it would still be up.


Serious question: If "Fair Use" is a legal determination, and only lawyers can make legal determinations how would someone claim "Fair Use" if they're not a lawyer? Or do I have it wrong and anyone can make legal determinations?

Vitor Nunes


Dave Marx

Oh wow. Adult Swim has some dumb lawyers. This feels like hypocrisy

jv -man

There’s several copies still up on YouTube

Joe Bloggs

As somebody who has tried to correct people claiming fair use, I can tell you the average person thinks fair use means "Anything that does not replace [a noticeable amount of] demand for the original product (they're such a big company they won't notice me using it), or it adds something the original product doesn't offer (changed in some way, like adding lyrics to a music video), or anything that adds their person flavour to a work (they wouldn't have done it exactly the same as me, so I added my creativity (originality) and should be allowed to display my own work)." -> this is over and above using it for reactions/commentary which is the one people usually get right (though basically the only one).


Hey thanks for the great breakdown of the video! From an earlier thread on reddit I pretty much understood that the videos I made were derivative and not a parody of any kind (and in the original upload of my explanation I stated derivative as well albeit I wasn’t 100% sure at that point). I’m not mad at Turner or anything about it as this was a fan work by the fans for the fans, and they are within their rights to do whatever with these videos.

The videos were seen by Justin both in when it was being made and on release (in fact he tweeted these videos himself on release and was super happy about it). The reason I made those videos were to update my fans as to where that content went, and what I’d be working on. The strange thing is as you said, they were up for 2+ years and all of a sudden were blocked. The videos weren’t monetized as turner had a “tracked” policy on them.

What I think happened is this: some people were taking this and the ice cream animation and reuploading it themselves on youtube titled “R&M season 4 teaser/trailer/etc”, and many people were being fooled that it were the real thing and thus confusing the market. The ice cream animation was the first one blocked worldwide, and then about a week later so did the court case one.

Thanks again for the video and telling people to sub!


honestly "fair use" to me and what I see most people around me using it as, is "I have added to this" or "I have done this, there for it is mine" mentality, regardless of what they use or do to it.


Good description and explanation. I think it was nice that Adult Swim left it up until the wave of viewers had passed. As you explained, they could have been real dicks about it.

DJ Wise Pariah

Dan Harmon is a piece of shit. I'm the same DJ Wise Pariah he blamed for R&M not being picked up for a fourth season.


Wouldn't it still be market usurpation even if the original creator had no plans to make an animated version? My thinking is that the non-animated version would get fewer views with the animated version out there, thus taking the market from the original.