Entertainment & Arts

Seth MacFarlane 'stole Ted character' claim producers

Mark Wahlberg in a scene from Ted Image copyright AP
Image caption Mark Wahlberg starred alongside foul-mouthed bear Ted, voiced by writer-director MacFarlane

A Californian production company has sued Ted creator Seth MacFarlane claiming he stole the idea for his abusive, talking teddy bear.

Bengal Mangle Productions have said they created a web series called Acting School Academy in 2008, which featured a foul-mouthed teddy named Charlie.

The company has claimed Ted is "an unlawful copy of Charlie".

They have sought unspecified damages from Mr MacFarlane, Universal Studios and producer Media Rights Capital II.

Ted, which opened in June 2012 and earned $550m (£321m) worldwide, follows a once famous talking bear who lapses into a life of sex, drugs and alcohol and continually leads astray his childhood friend.

It was written and directed by MacFarlane, who also provided the voice of Ted. A sequel is expected next year.

'No authorisation'

The copyright infringement case was filed in Los Angeles earlier this week.

It specified a number of "consistent, widely identifiable traits" shared by both Ted and Charlie. Among them "verbal tone, verbal delivery, dialogue and attitude".

The case stated both bears are washed-up stars who "spend a significant amount of time sitting on a living room couch with a beer and/or cigarette in hand" and live in an adult human world.

Bengal Mangle Productions have alleged Macfarlane and his company Fuzzy Door Productions "had access to Charlie" via the initial web series, which received at least 1.2 million views between July 2009 and June 2012.

A spin-off series - Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear - was created in 2009 and widely disseminated on sites such as YouTube, Facebook, iTunes and FunnyorDie between 2009 and 2010.

Charlie also created a Twitter account in 2009 and has over 2,000 followers.

The suit has claimed the defendants "copied Charlie to create the Ted character without plaintiff's authorisation, which constitutes infringement of plaintiff's copyright in the Charlie character".

Universal Pictures has declined to comment. There has been no immediate response from MacFarlane or Media Rights Capital II.

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