Hollywood Docket: ageism settlement; file-sharing award slashed; 5 reasons why entertainment law rocks

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Hollywood Docket: ageism settlement; file-sharing award slashed; 5 reasons why entertainment law rocks

Mon Jan 25, 2010 @ 08:20AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Seventeen major television networks and production studios and seven talent agencies have announced the settlement of 19 long-standing lawsuits that allege intentional and unintentional age discrimination in the selection and representation of television writers. A group of 165 writers filed the lawsuit in 2000. In announcing a $70 million settlement, the defendants deny any wrongdoing.
  • SAG and AFTRA have appointed a committee to study the possibility of joint bargaining with producers when contracts expire in June 2011.
  • Last year, the case against file-sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset made international news when a jury ordered her to pay a whopping $1.92 million, or $80,000 per song she infringed. On Friday, a judge reduced the award to $54,000 total, or $2,250 per song, as the "most reasoned solution" to figuring out an appropriate penalty. 
  • Broadcasters may be cheering the recent Supreme Court decision that relaxes campaign spending restrictions, but they may be subject to more liability. Lawyers for stations will have to review commercials to determine if the claims made are true and have to deal with the "Zapple Doctrine," which affords opposing candidates "quasi-equal opportunities" to purchase commercial time with similar term conditions.
  • The estate of Farrah Fawcett is suing a producer who made a documentary about the late actress, claiming that Craig Nevius and Windmill Entertainment turned in an "amateurish and sensationalized" first version, used privileged information, and embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nevius sued Ryan O'Neal and others back in May of last year. 
  • The FCC has announced an agenda for a meeting on Wednesday to discuss media ownership rules for minorities.
  • The cast of MTV's hit "Jersey Shore" is holding out for a big raise for season two of the show.  
  • The IFPI has published its "Digital Music Report 2010," indicating that global recorded music sales fell about 10 percent last year. The IFPI blames piracy as the cause of industry business troubles. However, the report says that digital music revenues increased 12 percent last year.  
  • We always wondered what the creator of the German movie "Downfall" had to say about the massive amount of parodies floating around the Internet, including ones where Hitler comments about Jay Leno, Michael Jackson and Billy Elliot. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel says he's a huge fan and can't stop laughing. In other words, there won't be any copyright infringement lawsuits forthcoming.
  • Bitter Lawyers analyzes every possible legal niche in the universe and concludes that the entertainment law practice is, hands down, the best. Here are five reasons why. We're not sure about the rock star thing.

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