General Entertainment Law News and Updates

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

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court voted to uphold a decision by the FCC to deregulate ownership of television broadcast stations. The Commission proposed the rule change in 2017 under Trump-appointed FCC chair Ajit Pai. The changes included an elimination of a rule that barred common ownership of stations in a market if the

In light of the ubiquity of cable and satellite, a controversy over the ownership of terrestrial broadcast stations may seem like a sideshow. The reality is, however, that an increasing number of American households are receiving broadcast stations by means of over-the-air transmission, either exclusively or together with a subscription video service.

The Supreme Court

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

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread postponement and cancellation of film and TV production in 2020, it brought a corresponding explosion of insurance claims by producers. This led inevitably to coverage disputes as carriers sought to deny coverage wherever they could. A recent lawsuit by ViacomCBS illustrates some interesting issues that can arise in these

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

In response to a copyright claim that the Netflix series “Stranger Things” infringed the plaintiff’s unpublished screenplays, Netflix and the other defendants filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, arguing that the works were not substantially similar as a matter of law.  In connection with the motion, Netflix submitted – and the Court accepted –

Owners of copyright in characters are often well-advised not to press their claims too far in litigation at the risk of losing their rights altogether. This may be what motivated a quick settlement of litigation over Sherlock Holmes.

In June, 2020, the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sued Netflix and others over their