Judge revives Warren Beatty's 'Dick Tracy' lawsuit

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Judge revives Warren Beatty's 'Dick Tracy' lawsuit

Tue Nov 10, 2009 @ 09:50AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Warren_Beatty_as_Dick_Tracy The legal fight over rights to comic legend Dick Tracy is back on.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware lifted a stay yesterday that prevented actor Warren Beatty from suing Tribune Media Services over movie and television rights to the famous detective character. 

Beatty bought rights to Dick Tracy from Tribune in 1985 and later directed and starred in a Dick Tracy film. However, Tribune claimed that Beatty made no productive use of his rights for more than a decade, and under the rights agreement, this meant that they reverted back to Tribune, which originally published the comic in the 1930s. 

Last November, Beatty sued Tribune in California court, arguing that he was in the midst of producing a television special on Dick Tracy. The following month, Tribune declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, freezing claims by creditors. In March, Tribune claimed in bankruptcy court that Beatty had begun work on a TV special only to preserve his rights and that the property was worth potentially millions of dollars to its creditors.

Delaware bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey is now allowing both parties to pursue their claims.

The case may also be notable as a chance to see Bert Fields back in a courtroom. Fields is representing Beatty, one of his best friends.

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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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