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PETA protects animals, but does it exploit filmmakers?

Fri Oct 15, 2010 @ 12:30PM PST

By Eriq Gardner



Warning: This post contains scenes of animal brutality, women stripping, and ahem, claims of aggravated copyright infringement.

Over the past few years, few organizations have created more hot viral videos on the web than the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The animal rights group has created confrontational spots that have featured celebrities, ambushed consumer brand products, and supermodels taking off their clothes. In many of these videos, a bit of eye-candy is delivered with some hard medicine. For example, in PETA's famous spot, "State of the Union Undress," a woman talks about animal cruelty while taking off her clothes, before a montage of animal brutality is shown to the viewer, such as beaks removed from chickens.

But where does PETA get these nasty images? One would hardly expect them to participate in the activity it deems repellant, right? Here may be a partial answer.

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Hollywood Docket: 'Harry Potter' plagiarism case continues; Actor subpoenas Twitter for source of STD rumor

Fri Oct 15, 2010 @ 08:24AM PST
  • A British judge has allowed a lawsuit to go forward that alleges that J.K. Rowling plagiarized "Harry Potter" from the author of an obscure fantasy book, "Willy the Wizard." However, the judge described the plaintiff's chances of success as "improbable" and ordered them to post cash security before future hearings are held. [WP]
  • A&E has another lawsuit to add to its growing list of claims. A Texas woman is suing A&E after allegedly identifying her in the show, "The First 48," as a prostitute and possible party to a murder. [Here's the complaint]
  • The Weinstein Co. will appeal the NC-17 rating given to its forthcoming drama "Blue Valentine." The film, a hit at Sundance, is an awards contender. [THR]
  • Swedish prosecutors and entertainment industry reps gave closing arguments in a seven-day appeal of the conviction of the founders of The Pirate Bay. The prosecution argued that the defendants admitted their role in a copyright-infringing operation and deserve jail time and monetary penalties. [TF
  • Broadway actor Marty Thomas filed a lawsuit in NY court on Wednesday, demanding that Twitter reveal the individual who claimed via tweet that he has a sexually transmitted disease. The tweet asked followers, "Which Avenue Q cast member gave Marty Thomas crabs?" In papers to the court, Thomas denies he has a STD. [NYDN]

Nickelodeon refuses to cave in 'Dora' standoff

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 10:35PM PST

By Matthew Belloni and Georg Szalai

Sanchez,caitlin Poor John Balestriere. The attorney for ex-"Dora the Explorer" voice Caitlin Sanchez really went for broke, firing off a threatening letter on Tuesday warning that if Nickelodeon didn't make his 14-year-old client a substantial offer to settle her lawsuit over an "unconscionable" contract by 1pm Wednesday, he'd start humiliating the network by exposing unflattering secrets and green-lighting Sanchez to do media interviews.

But Wednesday came and went, and all Balestriere seems to have done is antagonize Nickelodeon.   

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Will CBS sue over this awesome 'Star Trek' replica?

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:43AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Will the "Star Trek" fan who created a gigantic virtual replica of the USS Enterprise in the videogame "Minecraft get sued"?

That's what some concerned citizens are asking after seeing this YouTube video that sports an insanely impressive 1:1 scale model of the famed and probably copyrighted starcraft from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

The replica, which has been viewed nearly 1 million times on YouTube, was created in "Minecraft," a multiplayer sandbox creation game currently in alpha. The website describes the game this way: "Minecraft is a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons. Or something like that."

Problem is, some are freaking out about a possible lawsuit.

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Rare Jimi Hendrix song tangled in dispute

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:34AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Jimi Hendrix - (1965) Two Great Experinces (feat. Lonnie Youngblood) The Jimi Hendrix estate, Martin Scorsese and an old saxaphone player named Lonnie Youngblood are among those battling over a 40-year-old song entitled "Georgia Blues" that was recently featured on a Scorsese-directed PBS special on blues music and distributed via an accompanying album.

In the mid-1960s, Hendrix, working as Jimmy James, played in Youngblood's band. Later the guitar virtuoso struck out on his own, but reunited in 1969 with Youngblood in a New York studio to record "Georgia Blues."

The tune was mostly forgotten until Scorsese's 2003 PBS special, "The Blues," which spawned a few albums including "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Jimi Hendrix," which included the song. It's now the subject of heated litigation.

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Mother of teen 'sex addict' sues 'Tyra' show

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:32AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

EXCLUSIVE: Next on "The Tyra Banks Show": TV producers who kidnap teenaged sex addicts?

The mother of a 15-year-old self-proclaimed "sex addict" is suing Warner Bros. Entertainment, Tyra Banks and executive producers of her talk show for $3 million for featuring her child on television without consent.

Beverly McClendon, a resident of Georgia, filed the complaint in an Atlanta federal court last week, after her daughter seemingly went behind her back and flew to New York to appear on "Tyra." The lawsuit opens up questions about the care of duty owed when producers of a TV program invite minors on air to speak about their sexual proclivity. 

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Hollywood Docket: 'Dora' lawyer threatens to humiliate Nickelodeon; 'Hobbit' deal coming?

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 08:48AM PST
  • Ah, lawyering at its nastiest: The attorney for the teen who voiced "Dora the Explorer" and sued Nickelodeon last week gave the network a deadline of 1 pm yesterday to settle. Or else? The lawyer says he will be "ramping up" the prosecution, green-lighting interviews for the teen with media outlets, and humiliating Nickelodeon. [NYP]
  • The Indiana Occupation Safety and Health Administration tells TMZ it has cleared producers of "Transformers 3" for an on-set car crash that left one extra partially paralyzed. The civil lawsuit is still unresolved. [TMZ]
  • Reps for Peter Jackson say that a decision on where to shoot "The Hobbit," in wake of some labor trouble, will be coming in about a week or two. [THR]
  • Dennis Hopper's widow has filed a $45 million claim against the estate. [TMZ]
  • New York sportscasting legend Sal Marchiano is suing WPIX for age discrimination after being fired at 69 years of age. [NYT]
  • Reality television may be criticized for a lack of creativity, but Greenberg Glusker's Aaron Gafni says that reality programming "requires an uncommon level of creativity, at least as far as lawyers are concerned." We agree. [Law Law Land]

Irving Azoff responds to Axl Rose legal claim

Wed Oct 13, 2010 @ 12:52PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Axl-roseEXCLUSIVE: Earlier this year, we reported on Axl Rose's bombshell claims against Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff. Now comes the response.

Azoff, as head of Front Line Management, which once represented Guns 'n' Roses, is suing Rose claiming the rocker violated an oral agreement to pay 15% of earnings, or nearly $2 million, from a lucrative concert tour. Rose responded by filing a countersuit that claimed Azoff had gained enormous power in the music industry by involving himself in the "trifecta" of artist management, concert and touring promotion. Rose contended that Azoff had insufficiently promoted his "Chinese Democracy" album, lied about tour dates, and was trying to bully Rose into a full Guns 'n Roses reunion.

At the time, Azoff's lawyer, Howard King, was incredulous. He quipped, "Rose didn't accuse Irving of being on the grassy knoll in Dallas on November 22, 1963?"

Alas, the countersuit is stil on the docket, and earlier this month Azoff filed an official answer to Rose's charges.

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Hollywood Docket: Google wants to charge the music industry for anti-piracy help

Wed Oct 13, 2010 @ 08:36AM PST
  • Today's must-read: The RIAA and the IFPI, two music industry trade groups, recently sent a letter to Google asking for more aid in tracking down pirated material online. Google said it would help, but only for a price -- frustrating the music industry. We recently covered growing tension between the entertainment industry and Google, so we have a feeling this isn't going away. [CNET]
  • Why can't they get along? Two law firms involved in each suing thousands of alleged pirates are in conflict over trademark. The US Copyright Group, the outfit suing "Hurt Locker" pirates among others, recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Media Copyright Group, which is suing a bunch of alleged porn pirates. MCG has responded by filing a lawsuit against USCG, asking a court for a declaratory judgement that its name isn't infringing a trademark. [Ars Technica]
  • The lawyers for Eminem's publisher, Eight Mile Style, have filed a motion asking a federal district court in Detroit to enforce a 2009 settlement of $2.2 million with Apple and Aftermath Records. The settlement stems from a dispute over royalties owed over iTunes sales. [AmLaw Daily]
  • News Corp. and Cablevision are still at an impasse over the negotiation of a new carriage agreement. The fight, which threatens Fox broadcast stations in New York and Philadelphia, is happening as the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies compete in the MLB playoffs. [THR]
  • A judge has given final approval to a $20.1 million settlement in an investor class action involving Take-Two Interactive Software, makers of the game "Grand Theft Auto," over improper backdating of stock options. [Law360]
  • Interesting ethics issue: A NY Times reporter wrote a story about Hewlett Packard's incoming CEO and his involvement in an IP lawsuit between SAP and Oracle. It then came to light that the reporter's fiance was the director of communications at the David Boies' law firm, which is representing Oracle in the lawsuit. The NYT appended the story, saying that had the reporter known, he wouldn't have written the story. Fair? [ATD]

Real-life judge investigated for trying to be fake TV judge

Tue Oct 12, 2010 @ 07:34PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Ht_Diana_Salcido_100507_mn Judge Judy makes $45 million a year. Who can blame other jurists for wanting the same?

The Commission on Judicial Performance, for one.

The agency is now investigating whether San Diego Superior Court Judge DeAnn Salcido acted improperly in her enthusiasm for getting on television. The commission has just released testimony gathered from its probe of the judge that suggests how far some magistrates are willing to go to deliver some TV justice.

Read More »

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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