Hollywood Docket: Cal. tax credits; Letterman bombshell; Chamber of commerce vs. 'Yes Men'

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Hollywood Docket: Cal. tax credits; Letterman bombshell; Chamber of commerce vs. 'Yes Men'

Tue Oct 27, 2009 @ 01:03PM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is touting the success of the Film and Television Incentive, a controversial measure passed in February that provides more tax credits for local production. The governor said that 50 projects have been approved for as much as $97 million in tax credits. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at how local tax incentives and government subsidies are driving major creative decisions in filmmaking, especially as it pertains to set location. Tax incentives for entertainment production are as popular as ever; however, in past months, the subject has drawn scrutiny in Iowa and in Louisiana with complaints and investigations of accounting fraud.
  • The RIAA has given a tepid endorsement of the FCC's proposed "net neutrality" rules so long as ISPs can continue to pursue policies to curtail the unlawful trading of copyrighted content. At some point, the RIAA may push ISPs to cut off Internet access to repeat copyright infringers, a law just adopted in France and being considered in Britain. However, police and intelligence services in the UK are urging the government against such a proposal for fear that pirates will turn to encryption to hide their tracks.
  • A former female writer for David Letterman has penned a bombshell article for Vanity Fair describing a hostile work environment for female staffers. Nell Schovell writes that women who had sexual relationships with high-level male employees wielded power disproportionate to their job titles and were benefiting professionally on the show. Rumors circulated about Letterman affairs.
  • A rift may be forming between Hollywood's elite and the Church of Scientology. Oscar winning screenwriter Paul Haggis sent a letter to a Scientology spokesperson resigning his membership over the organization's support of Proposition 8 which restricted the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples.
  • A former politician in Italy, Salvatore Cuffaro, has filed charges against 4,609 individuals who commented on YouTube to a video that linked Cuffaro to corruption. One of Italy's rival political parties is offering to pay the legal defense of any of the defendants.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce has filed a civil complaint against the "Yes Men," a group of pranking activists whose film, "The Yes Men Fix the World" was released last Friday. The group recently held a mock press conference purporting to represent the Chamber and announcing support of stronger emissions regulations to curb climate change. After the real spokesperson for the Chamber interrupted the press conference, the video became a huge viral hit. The Chamber is claiming trademark infringement and wishes to enjoin the defendants from using footage on the Internet or in commercial theatrical distribution.
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