Litigation and Statutory Developments

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

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

Many of us will remember 2020 as the year that the theatrical exhibition business irrevocably changed. Our last blog covered the landmark agreement between Universal Pictures and AMC, the world’s largest theater chain, to reduce the theatrical exhibition window from three months to just over three weeks. Now a New York federal judge has granted

A planned Netflix movie about Sherlock Holmes’s sister is the target of a lawsuit from the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the legendary detective. The estate has asserted both copyright and trademark claims.

The estate will have to walk a narrow path to prevail on its copyright claims. All but the last

Another blow was struck in the litigation between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the top three talent agencies.

In April, the agencies prevailed in their motion to dismiss eight of the nine claims asserted against them by the WGA in the pending US District Court case.  They have now moved to dismiss the

The US Copyright Office issued a lengthy report concluding that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has “tilted askew” in favor of tech companies.  It called on Congress to make changes in the act that will favor copyright owners.

Background

Congress passed the DMCA in 1998. One goal of the Act was to accommodate the

The organizers of a Salt Lake City comic convention suffered another blow in their long-running trademark battle with the organizers of the San Diego Comic-Con.

The Salt Lake event styled itself as “Salt Lake Comic Con.” The owners of the registered trademark “San Diego Comic-Con” sued for infringement. Nearly six years of litigation culminated in

Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought production to a virtual standstill, writers, unlike directors and performers, are still able to work on development. While they shelter in place quietly plying their trade, their union has continued to make news.

Agency Litigation

The breaking story is a ruling in the California District Court case between the

The nearly two-year legal saga between television host Tavis Smiley and PBS appears headed for its final chapter next month when the parties face off in trial.  Central to the dispute is the meaning and scope of the morals clause in Smiley’s contract with PBS.  PBS terminated its 14-year partnership with Smiley in 2017 for