Seth MacFarlane Sued for Stealing Teddy Bear Idea for the Hit Movie Ted

Bengal Mangle Productions (“Bengal”) filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the 2012 hit comedy Ted.  The complaint alleged MacFarlane stole the idea of a foul-mouthed teddy bear living in an adult human world from a similar character named Charlie in Bengal’s 2008 screenplay Acting School Academy. Bengal described the Charlie character as one that “lives in a human, adult world with all human friends. Charlie has a penchant for drinking, smoking, prostitutes, and is a generally vulgar yet humorous…
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Reporter Attacks Brad Pitt at the “Maleficent” Premiere

Brad Pitt allegedly got struck by a former Ukrainian TV reporter on the red carpet in Los Angeles.  The 25 year-old reporter Vitalii Sediuk jumped over the rope and struck Pitt in his face while he was signing autographs for the fans.  Sediuk was immediately handcuffed by LAPD and is currently held at the Hollywood jail for suspicion of battery. Sediuk  is infamous for playing pranks on celebrities. His pranks reportedly started at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 when he gave Madonna a hydrangea…
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The Battle Over ‘Margaret’ Ends

On Wednesday, April 2, a six-year legal battle over Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret, released in 2011 ended. The parties to the suit, Lonergan and the film’s financier, Gary Gilbert, came to a settlement agreement that was recently  executed. In 2005, Gilbert and Fox Searchlight (Fox) agreed to split about $12.6 million in production costs for the film Margaret. In 2007, Gilbert became unhappy with the result of the film’s final cut and according to Lonergan, attempted to seize control of the film despite not…
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‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Studio Sued for Defamation

On February 18, Andrew Greene filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against the filmmakers of the recent box office hit “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Paramount Pictures.  Greene’s filing accuses the defendants of defaming him through their portrayal of the character Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, who Greene asserts was modeled after him.  Greene’s suit states that “the motion picture contains various scenes wherein Mr. Greene’s character is portrayed as a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved and/or devoid of any morality.” Several scenes in the movie…
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Disney Hoping to Freeze “Frozen Land”

This holiday season Disney released its newest animated film “Frozen.” To celebrate, the company presented Phase 4 Films with a gift worse than Aunt Edna’s fruit cake – a trademark infringement lawsuit. Disney’s “Frozen” was released on November 19, 2013.  Less than three weeks earlier, Phase 4 changed the title of one of its from “The Legend of Sarila” to “Frozen Land.”  In a December 23 complaint, Disney stated the change was an attempt to ride the coattails of “Frozen’s” success. Under its original title,…
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Warner Bros. Wins Final Fight for Superman

On November 21, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Warner Brothers is the sole owner of Superman’s copyright.  The ruling should be the final legal battle in the lengthy ownership dispute with the estates of Superman’s co-creators.  The court described the case as “another chapter in the long-running saga regarding the ownership of copyrights in Superman – a story almost as old as the Man of Steel himself.” Superman made his debut in 1938 as a character in Action Comics #1.  The…
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Tribeca Film Festival Sues Developer for $100 Million in Breach of Contract Lawsuit

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Craig Hatkoff, Jane Rosenthal, and Robert DeNiro. It has generated an estimated $750 million in economic activity for New York City. It has strong ties to the community, a commitment to making cultural programming available to the public, and over four million people have attended its many cultural events. It seems that the Tribeca Film Festival would make a splendid business partner. Somehow, however, one developer is managing to botch the relationship. Pier 57 in the…
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FX facing mark’s F-X-Xtinction?

The name seemed silly from the moment those commercials started to run. You know them — the ones with the cast members of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia speaking to each other in what sounds, to the naked ear, like Swedish. The ad spots changed as the summer season rolled out on FX, but the punchline of each promo was always the same, with one cast member saying the name of the channel that the great comedy show was moving to. Repeat after Danny DeVito:…
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Disney Suing Musical Company for Infringement

Last week, entertainment giant Disney file suit against a Pennsylvania based Entertainment Theatre Group, doing business as American Music Theatre (AMT).  In its complaint, Disney alleges that AMT’s production, Broadway: Now and Forever, infringes its rights and is seeking damages. AMT is staging Broadway: Now and Forever, a show that billed as a “larger-than-life theatrical compilation of unforgettable music from the hottest new blockbusters to all-time favorite classics.” “Broadway: Now and Forever recreates the greatest moments ever on stage.” The show…
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Run DMC(A): No Safe Harbor for Vimeo against EMI?

It started with a simple equation: “Vimeo is video + you.” Yet this formula and model for the new “user-generated content”-fueled Internet has morphed into a case that could very well test the limits of the protection afforded to “service providers” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This past week, a federal judge found that a particular “safe harbor provision” of the DMCA, which has been invoked successfully by user-generated content providers like YouTube and Veoh in their respective quests to protect and insulate…
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