Alrighty, then. If Netflix getting sued over an early Jim Carrey comedy was 0n your 2021 bingo card, it looks like you got that one in just under the wire. The production company behind Ace Ventura 2, aka Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, is suing the streaming service over unauthorized use of clips from the movie. No, Netflix didn’t stream Ace Ventura 2 without asking first — the clips were used for the provocative documentary series Tiger King.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan Creek Productions filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Netflix and Goode Films — i.e. Tiger King director and producer Eric Goode — over two Ace Ventura 2 clips used in “Not Your Average Joe,” the premiere episode of Tiger King. One clip shows Jim Carrey’s character with a monkey, while the other shows him riding an elephant. Morgan Creek alleges that the clips were used “without permission or license.” The lawsuit claims that Morgan Creek attempted to work out a resolution with Netflix and Goode Films before taking things to the legal arena, but without success.
Morgan Creek argues that by including the Ace Ventura 2 clips in Tiger King, Netflix and Goode Films have tied the Jim Carrey film to the controversial Netflix documentary series, thereby damaging Ace Ventura‘s image. The lawsuit points out that Tiger King content includes “sordid tales of animal abuse, voluminous guns and a quixotic bid for the U.S. presidency.” Morgan Creek alleges that the Ace Ventura 2 clips were used to add levity to the events depicted, which they claim both “helped drive viewership” and created the sense that the Ace Ventura 2 makers were “promoting Tiger King favorably.” The lawsuit also claims that because of the streaming nature of Netflix, it’s quite likely some viewers have watched the episode — including the allegedly infringed clips — multiple times, thereby “multiplying the harm” to Morgan Creek. The production company is asking for statutory damages, attorney’s fees, and that Netflix and Goode Films be prohibited from using clips from any other Morgan Creek films in the future. THR says they reached out to Netflix for comment, but thus far there has been no response.
Premiering on Netflix in March 2020 — at the same time many Americans were stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic — Tiger King proved to be a massive hit for the streamer as well as becoming a cultural touchstone for the pandemic. But while Tiger King has brought Netflix a lot more views, it’s also brought them their share of legal headaches. Morgan Creek’s lawsuit isn’t the first suit filed against Netflix for Tiger King; in fact, it isn’t even the first Tiger-King-related lawsuit this year. In November Carole Baskin — the same woman Joe Exotic allegedly tried to have murdered — sued Netflix and Royal Goode Productions. Baskin claims that both she and her husband refused to have anything to do with the sequel series Tiger King 2. The suit alleges that in spite of Baskin’s refusal to participate, Netflix released a trailer that depicts her as being a prominent part of the follow-up.