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Tiny astronaut sues big musician

Tue Oct 05, 2010 @ 08:02AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Look closely at Dido's album cover for "Safe Trip Home." Spot the lawsuit?


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Ke$ha says former manager acted as unlicen$ed talent agent

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 07:48PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Kesha EXCLUSIVE: Pop star Ke$ha has dropped a powerful legal bomb on a former manager who is suing her for $14 million in allegedly unpaid commissions.

In a move that will not be a surprise to lawyers familiar with talent/management disputes, the "Tik Tok" songstress is asking the California Labor Commissioner to declare her contract with DAS Communications void because it acted as an unlicensed talent agent while representing her. That's a big no-no in California, where only registered (and regulated) agents can "procure" work for clients, and the punishment for violating the Talent Agencies Act can be severe.

Ke$ha (real name: Kesha Rose Sebert; we can barely bring ourselves to type the dollar sign) was sued in New York in May for allegedly breaching a 2006 deal to pay New York-based DAS and principal David Sonenberg 20% of her music earnings. The singer later left DAS and hired RCA/Jive Record Group to represent her, according to the lawsuit. At issue is whether DAS is entitled to commissions from Ke$ha's lucrative deal with Warner Bros. Records, among other things.

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'Deadliest Catch' update: Trio still overboard, clock is ticking

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 06:20PM PST
By Matthew Belloni

Deadliestcatchlogo Will Discovery reel in its missing “Deadliest Catch” captains?

As filming is set to begin next week on the show’s seventh season, the network issued a statement Monday revealing that the Cornelia Marie, the fishing boat captained by the late Phil Harris, will return this season with sons Josh and Jake Harris on board as deckhands.

But absent from the statement were popular “Catch” co-stars Capts. Sig Hansen and Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, who quit the Emmy-nominated reality series last week in the wake of a $3 million lawsuit Discovery filed against the Hillstrands for allegedly failing to complete work on a planned spinoff special. 

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Everything you need to know about 'The Social Network' and the law

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 04:15PM PST

Zuckeisenberg Today we've got another attorney guest post, this one from Aaron Moss, a partner at L.A.'s Greenberg Glusker and co-founder of the firm's Law Law Land blog. He follows our thoughts on the subject with the best analysis we've seen of the possible legal claims stemming from "The Social Network." We'll let Aaron explain...

By Aaron Moss

The new Facebook movie, "The Social Network," opened this weekend to rave reviews and the No. 1 spot at the box office. If history is any guide, we should now prepare ourselves for two things: (1) a string of copycat films (coming soon, "Friendster: We Totally Came Up With This Idea First, Really!" and "MySpace: Hey, Where Did Everybody Go?"); and (2) a string of lawsuits.

As studio litigation departments know well, the standard legal claim that follows the release of a successful movie is one for “idea theft” brought by plaintiffs who claim that their idea for the movie was stolen by the filmmakers. But because "Social Network" is based on a true story — and because everyone who believes he invented Facebook has already sued Mark Zuckerberg — any claims are likely to focus on the film’s portrayal of real-life individuals.

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How Mark Zuckerberg could sue over 'Social Network'

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 11:15AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

The-social-network-movie-poster Each and every day, it becomes less likely that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will sue producers of "The Social Network." If he wanted to file a splashy lawsuit, he probably would have already, and, as we've reported, he decided early on not to take an especially adversarial position on the movie.

Still, the New York Times reviews Zuckerberg's legal options today anyway. The paper interviews several First Amendment experts who conclude -- shocker! -- that it would be difficult for Zuckerberg to pursue a libel action.

As a public figure, Zuckerberg would have a high hurdle in showing that filmmakers were reckless or had actual malice. Plus, the movie is based in part on court documents and is careful to present the story as a series of perspectives on what happened, rather than one narrative presented as fact. Producers also gave Zuckerberg and Facebook an opportunity to see the script and give some feedback.

However, if Zuckerberg did want to take a shot, there's a case in Tennessee that might offer him some help.

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NBCU, BBC win 'stolen' TV idea case

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 08:59AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Lightbulb-idea A federal judge in New York has let NBC Universal, the BBC and the Travel Channel off the hook on allegations the studios were engaged in criminal racketeering by running a website that allowed people to submit ideas for new TV shows.

The lawsuit was brought by Christopher Cardillo, who claimed that after he had submitted an idea via the website about a family of four who travel around the nation in a Winnebago, the defendants had stolen his idea to create the reality show "The Great American Road Trip." 

The defendants pointed out that Cardillo never registered copyright on the proposed show, so a copyright claim was voluntarily withdrawn. Instead, Cardillo pursued a legal theory that NBCU, BBC and Travel engaged in a pattern of deceitful, collusive behavior intended to rip off those with great TV show ideas.

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Hollywood Docket: Lionsgate vs. Icahn; Fox vs. Dish; 'Greek' is most-pirated film

Mon Oct 04, 2010 @ 08:56AM PST
  • Lawyers for Lionsgate were in a Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday attempting to throw out a lawsuit brought by Carl Icahn in his ongoing takeover efforts. Lionsgate is also trying to limit discovery, arguing that the studio has already cooperated with another lawsuit in British Columbia. Lionsgate's arguments on why the lawsuit should be dismissed are laid out in its motion to dismiss
  • The annual throng of carriage fee disputes is upon us. The big one now is between News Corp./Fox and the Dish Network. Fox has yanked FX, the National Geographic Channel and 19 regional sports networks from Dish already and may pull more on Oct. 31, barring an agreement. [THR]
  • A lawsuit against "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" for playing hundreds of music recordings without permission or paying licenses is over. No reason was given for the termination of the case, although it probably means it was settled. [Bloomberg]
  • "Get Him to the Greek" is the most pirated film for the second consecutive week. [TF]

Judge: Mark Cuban must pay Don Johnson

Sun Oct 03, 2010 @ 04:55PM PST
By Paul Bond

Nash Bridges Among those who must pay Don Johnson his $51.7 million in "Nash Bridges" money are billionaires Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner and their 2929 Entertainment, the actor's representatives said.

A judge ruled late Thursday that it was Cuban and Wagner's 2929, along with Rysher Entertainment and investment firm Qualia Capital -- operated by Amir Malin and Ken Shapiro -- that should foot the bill for money owed the actor stemming from his partial ownership of "Nash," a TV series he co-created in 1995.

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Nikki Finke website sues for copyright infringement

Fri Oct 01, 2010 @ 06:37PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Finke,nikki EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke has just launched another legal attack. Media Corp., parent company of Finke's, filed a copyright infringement suit today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Arthur Meyerovich and Alina Kaganovsky, alleged owners of the website, which MMC says routinely lifts stories from Deadline.

"Defendants have copied countless original and copyrighted articles from Deadline and posted these articles verbatim on Box Office World," the complaint says. "By stealing Deadline's content, defendants have generated Internet traffic, earned advertising revenue, and sold products that they otherwise would not have but for their theft of Deadline's content."

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WME dragged into Live Nation antitrust case

Fri Oct 01, 2010 @ 04:53PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Wmelogo EXCLUSIVE: Does the William Morris Endeavor talent agency hold the key to proving that Live Nation is guilty of an antitrust conspiracy?

One company thinks so.

My Ampitheater Inc., is asking a California judge to compel WME to turn over documents that it says may prove crucial to showing that Live Nation has been coercing musicians towards playing only certain concert venues.

WME is fighting the request tooth and nail. The talent agency headed by Ari Emanuel, who also sits on Live Nation's board, said it would cost $3 million to comply with the request. For the that reason and others, WME is begging a judge not to order it to comply with a subpoena.

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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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