This is marvelous. Here’s the backstory. In 1990, Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi adapted Pileggi’s book Wiseguy into the genre- defining Goodfellas. The following year, The Simpsons debuted Louie, a member of the Springfield Mafia. And a short 23 years later, actor Frank Sivero filed a lawsuit against Fox Television Studios and The Simpsons creators claiming that the character Louie is a ripoff of the character Sivero played in Goodfellas. And he thinks he’s owed $250 million. Awesome.
As far as I can tell, the evidence consists of “Hey, check it out, we look a lot alike.”
I’m not informed enough to make any substantial legal analysis, but my extensive knowledge of Law & Order leads me to believe there could be some statute of limitations issues for Sivero, protection for The Simpsons creators as parody under the fair use exceptions, and the issue that Sivero didn’t invent the character he played. But I do need to specifically address this portion of the lawsuit:
Sivero and his lawyers, on the other hand, had a lot to say in their 12-page complaint. For one, they want $50 million in damages for loss of his likeness, another $50 million in actual loss for “improper appropriation of Plaintiff’s confidential idea,” $50 million more in exemplary damages and $100 million for “improper interference.”
“They want $50 million in damages for loss of his likeness.”
Frank, dollface, I don’t want to be an asshole. But you were never going to be worth $50 million. Ray Liotta, the star of Goodfellas and Hollywood’s once “Next Golden Boy” isn’t worth $50 million. Come one, man, you gotta get real.
If nothing else, Sivero will get to hold the title of “Most Ridiculous Lawsuit Concerning the Simpsons” at least until Joey Buttafuoco sues Fat Tony for “Being The Guy I Thought I Was Being.”