The lawsuit brought by Scarlett Johansson against The Walt Disney Co. has struck Hollywood like a thunderclap. The litigation arises out of Disney’s decision to release Black Widow concurrently in theaters and on Disney+. Johansson claims that the streaming release deprived her of compensation she should have received otherwise. The fact that this dispute was

Copyright in characters is not a new concept but it can take interesting twists. We saw this recently when litigation over the Netflix movie Enola Holmes raised the question just how far the term of copyright in Sherlock Holmes could be extended. A strictly 2020’s application of the doctrine has emerged recently as comic book

While most of us look back on the last twelve months as a horrible dream, Hollywood’s labor unions can actually point to a string of successes. Early in the pandemic, all three of the above-the-line guilds closed new three year deals that among other things included significant increases in residuals for high-budget streaming programs. Just

In what must be counted as a victory for solidarity among WGA members and the often controversial tactics of its executive director David Goodman, the leading agency WME reached a deal for a franchise agreement with the union. This will permit the agency to resume representing writers almost two years after its writer clients fired

We recently reported on a lawsuit that the actor Faizon Love brought in November against Universal Pictures. Love was one of the stars of the 2009 movie Couples Retreat, whose overseas publicity campaign aroused controversy when it was discovered that Love, the movie’s only Black star, and his Black female partner had been removed

On January 15th, the Department of Justice announced it has ended its two-year review of the 80-year old consent decrees that govern the operation of the largest music performing rights organizations in the United States: ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). The DOJ decided not to

The 2009 Universal ensemble comedy Couples Retreat sparked controversy when its Black performers were erased from the film’s international marketing. That controversy has come back to life as the film’s co-star Faizon Love has filed suit against Universal alleging that promises that were made to him were not kept.

Couples Retreat Movie Poster
Court filing

In my last blog, I expressed cautious optimism that the WGA was making progress in settling its long-running dispute with CAA and WME, the two largest talent agencies and the last two holdouts in signing a franchise agreement that would permit them to represent writers. In April 2019, the WGA directed its members to

In April, 2019 the WGA directed its members to fire their agents unless the agents agreed to adhere to a Code of Conduct that would end the collection of package commissions and strictly limit their ownership stake in production entities. Buoyed by solidarity among its members, the union was successful in obtaining widespread agreement from

The battle between the Writers Guild of America and the major agencies has been waged on two fronts for over a year, with mixed results.

Attention recently has focused primarily on the WGA’s pressure campaign to require agencies to sign a Code of Conduct renouncing package commissions and ownership of production companies as a condition