A new lawsuit filed in a Boston courtroom claims that the Andre 3000-created Cartoon Network series Class of 3000 was not as original as the rapper, or the network would have viewers believe, the Boston Herald reports.
Former art student Timothy McGee is suing the Outkast star, as well as Cartoon Network and its parent company Turner Broadcasting for $2 million in damages, citing copyright infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets in the creation of the award winning show.
He is requesting compensation in the form of all the profits from the show, as well as court fees and any other payment the courts may see fit.
“We’ve requested $2 million in damages thus far,” said McGee’s attorney Jerrold Neeff. “The rest remains to be seen.”
According to 33-year-old McGee, in 1997 he submitted a show idea to then Cartoon Network vice president of programming Michael Lazzo about a show following the lives of a group of young musicians, “as they try to break into Atlanta’s burgeoning music scene.”
At issue for McGee, the lawsuit says, is the impression that the “characters, artwork, storylines and concepts” he developed for his show were heavily borrowed upon for Dre’s show, which aired from November 2006 to May 2008.
McGee’s show, for which he proposed Babyface as the young musicians’ mentor, included “a young corporate type” who aspired to be a music producer, a “tough full-of-attitude female executive, a young techno-whiz sound engineer, a talented young Asian singer and a central energetic young singer/rapper,” the suit explains.
Class of 3000 featured Dre as Sunny Bridges, a musical genius who left his hometown of Atlanta to pursue a recording career, only to return after experiencing the corruption of the business.
Sunny becomes the new music teacher at the Westley School of Performing arts where his students include an would-be music producer, a “tough, brash full-of-attitude” female student who plays the harp and guitar, a “technological genius bass player, and talented twins of Asian ethnicity,” McGee’s lawsuit said.
“The artist known as Andre ‘3000’ Benjamin was credited with the creation, executive production and starring role in ‘Class of 3000,’” the suit continued. “The similarities between the expression of Mr. McGee’s work in ‘The Music Factory’ and that of ‘Class of 3000’ are sufficiently detailed and pervasive.
The show’s co-creators and developers, Thomas W. Lynch and Patric M. Verrone, don’t seem to have been named as co-defendants.
Class of 3000 was cancelled in December 2007 due to budgetary constraints, but not before snagging the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.