Hollywood Docket: Lou Dobbs' contract; NYC's secret film permits; Yes Men lawyers

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Hollywood Docket: Lou Dobbs' contract; NYC's secret film permits; Yes Men lawyers

Thu Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:04AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Lou Dobbs, in announcing his departure from CNN yesterday, specifically mentioned he had been released from his contract. We don't know whether Dobbs had a non-compete clause in his deal, but if he intends to go to Fox News, as some have speculated, a mutual parting with CNN could help pave that road without litigation.
  • The New York City government has announced that the public will no longer be able to visit the Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting to leaf through the city's film shoot permits. Instead, those who are interested in figuring out where celebrities will be on any given day, will be forced to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The Mayor's office says it isn't making the change to stifle paparazzi, but rather because of budgetary considerations. 
  • A music industry investigation into an online piracy ring may have ensnared a label executive. No names have been released, but the executive reportedly lost his job and has been arrested.
  • The EFF is joining with Davis Wright Tremaine to represent the Yes Men in defense of a trademark claim from the Chamber of Commerce. Last month, the pranking filmmakers staged a press conference pretending to represent the Chamber of Commerce in a new stance on climate change legislation.
  • Instead of suing film studios (like Redbox), Netflix says it would rather negotiate with them on proposed plans to delay the DVD rental window a month after DVDs are released for sale. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos acknowledges that studios announced their intention not as "a punitive action." But Netflix would like as much as a 50 percent discount for acquiescing to the arrangement.
  • Universal pays $20,000 to settle a claim that it fabricated articles from real Alaskan publications to promote "The Fourth Kind."
  • Hopefully, this ends the story: Balloon Boy's parents have agreed to plead guilty to hoaxing law enforcement authorities. They will probably get probation. Fooling cable television doesn't amount to jail time. 

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 Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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