Hollywood Docket: Letterman blackmail screenplay; Warners loses 'Superman' motion; Joe Francis

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Hollywood Docket: Letterman blackmail screenplay; Warners loses 'Superman' motion; Joe Francis

Tue Nov 10, 2009 @ 09:38AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Gerald Shargel, the lawyer for the CBS news producer accused of blackmailing David Letterman, will challenge whether the evidence presented to the grand jury was sufficient and ask a judge to dismiss charges against his client, Robert Halderman. Shargel is also arguing that Halderman's activities didn't amount to blackmail but rather a "pure commercial transaction." Shargel says his client was merely attempting to sell the exclusive screenplay rights to Letterman.
  • Warner Bros. has relied on superhero efforts to keep its rights over Superman. Unfortunately for them, a judge has dismissed a motion to reconsider a decision that the Siegel family had successfully recaptured rights to key characters included in the first two weeks of the Superman comic strip. Warners argued that the original termination notices omitted key details like full identification of titles and registration numbers, but a judge says the errors are "harmless." Here's the latest decision.
  • The Associated Press is attempting to block the withdrawal of attorneys for street artist Shepard Fairey, accused by the news service of basing his Obama "Hope" poster on a copyrighted photograph. Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University, wishes to withdraw representation of Fairey after the artist acknowledged mistakes about the AP photo he used. UPDATE: Wish granted; Geoffrey Stewart is Fairey's new lawyer.
  • A movie is heavily pirated online and its producers are grateful?
  • A federal judge has ordered BlueBeat.com to stop selling Beatles tracks for download.
  • "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was sentenced to time served and a year of probation for filing false income tax returns. Francis gets credit for 301 days already served in jail. 

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