Hollywood Docket: John Landis sues Jackson estate; radio contest death verdict; Facebook spam

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Hollywood Docket: John Landis sues Jackson estate; radio contest death verdict; Facebook spam

Fri Oct 30, 2009 @ 10:08AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • "Thriller" director John Landis filed a lawsuit yesterday against Michael Jackson's estate for $2.4 million in unpaid profits he alleges are due to him. Landis sued Jackson himself this past January, among a long list of people who took the King of Pop to court. Now that Jackson is deceased, all those with outstanding claims, including by Jackson's former manager and former doctor, are re-filing against the estate.
  • A jury has awarded $16 million to the family of a woman who died of water poisoning during a radio contest. Entercom Sacramento, which operates KDND 107.9 "The End," was found negligent for ignoring several warnings that the water-drinking contest could be dangerous. 
  • Comcast continues to make progress in buying a big stake in NBC Universal. According to Reuters, the biggest stumbling blocks to a deal at the moment are governance and exit provisions for GE's 49 percent stake. One possibility being floated is an option for GE to sell all or part of its stake to Comcast within seven years.
  • Can the FCC do anything to rescue the ailing media market? The FCC has appointed Steve Waldman to a post that will "assess the state of media in these challenging economic times and make recommendations designed to ensure a vibrant media landscape." Waldman is co-founder of Beliefnet.com and a former national editor at US News & World Report. 
  • Facebook was awarded $711 million by a California district court in a default judgment against self-described "spam king" Sanford Wallace. The judge also found that the defendant willfully violated a restraining order and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 
  • A Stockholm District Court has ordered two of Pirate Bay's founders to pay a big fine or close down the website. However, the defendants say they no longer have any control over Pirate Bay's operations and say they will appeal. 
  • UK's second largest ISP is threatening to sue the government if it implements a new law that requires households to be disconnected for repeat copyright infringement violations. 
  • Gordon Firemark responds to our curiosity why entertainment lawyers aren't locking up rights in parallel universes by jestingly proposing new language in contracts henceforth. Somewhere in the multiverse, this has already been taken care of.

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