It didn’t escape their notice that South Park aired on Comedy Central, which was owned by Viacom, the massive media conglomerate which was suing YouTube for $1 billion dollars over… displaying Viacom content without payment. “It is unreasonable for those same corporations to treat the Internet as a bottomless well from which it [sic] can endlessly draw content without permission, payment, or even acknowledgment of the original artists,” said Brownmark in a press release (PDF) announcing the litigation. “Brownmark Films is taking a stand against these corporations’ continued reliance on double-standards, a decision made all the more difficult by Brownmark Films’ respect for South Park and its brand of humor.”
South Park had licensed the music and lyrics, but had paid nothing to the guys who created the video, even though that video was clearly the basis for the one in the episode. Was this copyright infringement? Brownmark said yes; South Park claimed that it was a fair use parody of the whole viral video phenomenon.