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Harvard's Larry Lessig on why 'Social Network' gets the Internet wrong

Tue Oct 12, 2010 @ 05:06PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Like almost every person with access to the Internet, Harvard law professor and digital rights advocate Lawrence Lessig has weighed in with his review of "The Social Network." Lessig, a big Aaron Sorkin fan from his "West Wing" days, enjoyed the film, but...but...

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Hollywood Docket: Undercover actor; 'Simpsons' opening pulled; 'Hobbit' divides Kiwi actors

Tue Oct 12, 2010 @ 08:09AM PST
  • Picture 4Larry Wilcox, former star of the television series "CHiPs" pleaded guilty to securities fraud and then used his acting chops to go undercover to assist federal law enforcement in an investigation of stock price manipulation. [NYT]
  • Remember when Paramount was raising a stink to the FCC that a presentation on piracy by COO Fred Huntsberry had been posted online without permission? Well, Huntsberry has turned his "geek to sleek" thesis into a road show. [THR]
  • Actors in New Zealand are split on whether it makes sense to unionize or risk losing the "The Hobbit," set to be produced in the country at a cost that could top $500 million. [THR]
  • Fox has asked YouTube to pull the much-buzzed-about opening credit sequence of "The Simpsons" recently directed by graffiti artist Banksy. It's still up on Hulu. [WP]
  • Major record labels were handed a defeat in Ireland when the country's High Court ruled that it couldn't force ISPs to adopt a "three strikes" rule to punish copyright infringement. [Irish Times]
  • Sherba Industries, makers of an inflatable gorilla, are suing Google for violating their copyrighted image. The complaint is embedded after the jump.

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Will Miami get to hear LeBron James games on radio?

Mon Oct 11, 2010 @ 11:32AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Lebron-James-Miami-Heat-Jersey1 EXCLUSIVE: Sports fans in Miami might be in store for a little Halloween scare.

On Oct. 31 at 1 p.m., both the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins are scheduled to play games. Both teams have deals with Clear Channel Broadcasting for radio broadcast of those games. The Dolphins have a contract that ensures that their game is broadcast on the "extremely powerful FM station" of WBGG-FM, owned by Clear Channel. One problem: the Heat have a "most favored nation" clause with Clear Channel that gives the team a "priority broadcast position."

Which would Miami sports fans rather hear -- a Brandon Marshall catch in the end zone or a LeBron James dunk?

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Hollywood Docket: Comcast-NBCU merger condition; libel lawsuits down; 'Jonah Hex' tops most-pirated list

Mon Oct 11, 2010 @ 08:49AM PST
  • The DOJ and FCC are weighing requiring Comcast to accept arbitration in disputes over programming sales as a condition for blessing the company's acquisition of NBC Universal. [Bloomberg]
  • Lawyers for Lionsgate and hostile investor Carl Icahn are back in court this week, where Icahn is expected to argue that the studio conspired to thwart his takeover bid. [THR
  • Warner Bros.' "Jonah Hex" was the top pirated movie last week. [TF]
  • The U.S. may be witnessing a sharp decline in the number of libel lawsuits against U.S. media outlets. [ABA Journal] However, despite reforms enacted recently in the U.K., defamation claims are on the rise there. [Law Gazette
  • The FCC's October agenda doesn't include mention net neutrality, frustrating critics who want the agency to crack down on ISP's possibly discriminating against some content or applications. [National Journal]
  • Rapper Lil Wayne, currently in jail for gun possession, has been notified that when he gets out, he'll have to face a producer in court, who claims he failed to pay royalties on a hit song. [Boombox]

Democrat fights back against Fox News lawsuit

Mon Oct 11, 2010 @ 08:44AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

S-CHRIS-WALLACE-large EXCLUSIVE: Last month, Fox News filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Democratic senatorial candidate Robin Carnahan, claiming she violated its copyright by using a Fox News clip in a campaign commercial against her challenger.

Now, Carnahan has struck back, telling a Missouri District Court that Fox News sued before properly registering copyright on the clip.

The Carnahan camp submitted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Friday, arguing that the popular cable news network was premature in initiating its copyright claim.

Carnahan's lawyers say this is "more than a technical failure." Instead, the campaign contends that Fox couldn't complete a copyright application because it would have trouble claiming copyright on all elements of the clip that Carnahan used. The footage itself, it turns out, incorporates an image first broadcast on C-SPAN. The campaign says this may be proof that Fox abused the copyright registration process and filed a frivolous claim in bad faith.

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Staffing: OMM advises Spyglass on MGM deal

Fri Oct 08, 2010 @ 07:09PM PST

A few entertainment law odds-and-ends:

  • A team from O'Melveny & Myers led by partner Christopher Brearton is advising Spyglass Entertainment on its investment in MGM, which will emerge from a pre-packaged bankruptcy with Spyglass co-chairmen Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum at the helm. The roll-call of OMM lawyers on the deal includes partners David Krinsky and Eric Zabinsky, counsel Ken Deutsch and Amy Siegel, and associates Gene Kang and Briar Darden. Others chipping in are Suzzanne Uhland and Andrew Parlen (bankruptcy), John-Paul Motley (securities), Wayne Jacobsen (ERISA) and David Beddow (regulatory matters). 
  • Entertainment litigator Miles Feldman has partnered with Andrew Raines and about 15 lawyers to launch the boutique Raines Feldman in Bevely Hills. Feldman was previously a partner at LA's Liner Grode Stein.
  • Arian Sultan Rothman has been promoted to vp business and legal affairs for the East Coast at Comedy Central.
  • Jeff Liebenson, music attorney and president of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, has opened his own practice. He was previously with BMG Int'd, Katten, and Herrick Feinstein.


'Deadliest Catch' trio rejoins the show

Fri Oct 08, 2010 @ 12:57PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Deadliestcatchhillstrands EXCLUSIVE: Capts. Sig Hansen and Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand have agreed to return to  "Deadliest Catch," ending a legal stalemate that threatened the Discovery hit reality series. 

"We're happy we worked everything out with Discovery," the trio tells the Hollywood Reporter in a statement. "A deal's a deal. We're heading up to Dutch Harbor to start filming the new season of 'Deadliest Catch' and hopefully it will be the best one yet."

As we first reported last week, Hansen and the Hillstrands quit the show in response to a $3 million lawsuit filed by Discovery against the Hillstrands for allegedly refusing to finish work on a planned spinoff special. As part of the settlement, Discovery's lawsuit will be dropped.

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Hollywood Docket: MGM bankruptcy; Bergstein's gambling debt; appeals court reinstates MSNBC suit

Fri Oct 08, 2010 @ 08:57AM PST
  • MGM is preparing to move ahead on a plan in bankruptcy court that would hand over most of the equity in the studio to its secured lenders and control of the studio to Spyglass Entertainment. The process is expected to take 30 days. [LAT/Law360]
  • Today in David Bergstein news: The embattled film financier is asking a bankruptcy court to stop a court-appointed trustee from looking into $1 million in debt at a casino. [THR
  • The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a former MSNBC entertainment reporter's lawsuit against the network for breach of contract and defamation. A lower court previously tossed the case, judging an e-mail sent by the plaintiff, Claudia DiFolco, where she declared her readiness to "discuss [her] exit from the shows" as indication that she had effectively resigned. MSNBC then leaked the news of her departure and she was ridiculed in some news outlets. The 2nd Circuit says the e-mail was ambiguous about her intentions. [Here's the ruling]
  • The Ohio Democratic Party recently put up an ad on YouTube showing that a Republican Congressman had used an actor in his own campaign spot. In making its point, the ODP used a clip from a film produced by Arginate Studios. Arginate claimed a copyright violation and got YouTube to pull the ad. Now some are attacking Arginate's move as an abuse of "fair use." [EFF/C&C]
  • An Italian TV show host broke the news on live television to a mother of a missing 15-year-old daughter that her brother-in-law had just confessed to the murder. The telecast has sparked outrage and questions of ethics from viewers. [BBC]
  • Former "ChiPs" star Larry WIlcox has been accused by the SEC of securities fraud in connection with alleged kickback schemes to manipulate the prices of microcap stocks. [LAT
  • CNN calls 81-year-old Bert Fields the "Energizer Bunny of Hollywood lawyers" for logging 3,000 billable hours this year. We agree that's pretty amazing. [CNN]

Taylor Swift could owe millions to ex-manager

Fri Oct 08, 2010 @ 05:00AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Swift,taylor EXCLUSIVE: Did Taylor Swift’s father conspire to cheat her former manager out of millions of dollars earned by launching the Grammy-winning country star?

That’s the question before a federal judge in New York in a case brought by Dan Dymtrow, a music manager who claims he’s owed millions in commissions because he discovered Swift, signed her in April 2004 when she was 14 and played a key role in building her career before being dumped in July 2005, just before Swift signed with Big Machine Records and became an international sensation.

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'Dora the Explorer' hits puberty, gets fired, sues Nickelodeon

Thu Oct 07, 2010 @ 04:17PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Dora-The-Explorer1 "Dora the Explorer" actress Caitlin Sanchez is only 14. But she just filed a very grown-up multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Nickelodeon, MTV Networks and Viacom.

Two years ago, Sanchez was hired to take over playing the lead character's voice on Nickelodeon's hit veteran animated series. She was paid $5,115 per episode.

Now Nick has dismissed her from the role because's she's reached puberty and her voiced changed.

Sanchez claims she was promised a cut of Dora's lucrative merchandising revenue and is questioning the network's practices in hiring minors.

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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 [email protected]

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