Outkast’s Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin, along with the Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting, is being sued for $2 million in damages by a Boston postal worker who claims they ripped off his idea for an animated series about a group of young musicians and aired it as “Class of 3000.”
According to the Bostonherald.com, Timothy McGee, a 33-year-old former art student, alleges he developed “characters, artwork, storylines…and concepts” for an animated series called “The Music Factory of the ’90’s,” nearly 10 years before “Class” began airing on the Cartoon channel, which followed a group of young musicians “as they try to break into Atlanta’s burgeoning music scene.” His characters included “a young corporate type” who dreams of being 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,” states the suit.
In 1997, McGee, who then proposed Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds host the show, submitted a proposal to Michael Lazzo, then a VP of programming for the Cartoon Network, and promptly received a rejection letter.
Nine years later, in November 2006, the Cartoon Network premiered “Class of 3000,” an animated series about young musicians in Atlanta, which ran for two seasons. The characters included an aspiring music producer, a “tough, brash full-of-attitude” female string player, a “technological genius bass player, and talented twins of Asian ethnicity,” the suit says. The show’s host and main character was voiced by Benjamin.
Benjamin “was credited with the creation, executive production and starring role in ‘Class of 3000,’ ” the suit continues. “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 suit claims copyright infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets and requests damages “including but not limited to” all the profits from the show, legal fees and “whatever this court may deem additionally just and proper.”
A spokeswoman for the Cartoon Network told the Herald the network is aware of the suit, but “as a general practice, we don’t comment on litigation.”
“Class of 3000” was cancelled in December 2007 supposedly due to budgetary constraints, but not before snagging the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.