USTA Seeks Ruling on Use of US Open Footage in ‘Venus and Serena’ Documentary

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is matching up the documentary “Venus and Serena,” in New York federal court. On Friday, June 14, 2013, the USTA filed suit against Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, the filmmakers behind the documentary that follows the lives of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The suit alleges that the filmmakers infringed USTA’s exclusive copyrights for the annual U.S. Open tennis competition. The lawsuit contends that the filmmakers were granted limited access to film portions of the 2011 U.S. Open…
Continue reading...

Trial to Determine if Madden Developer Can Beat the Clock with Big Play for Damages

On Monday June 17, 2013, opening statements were made to determine if Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) lied to the original programmer of the Madden NFL videogame. Robin Antonick, the game’s original programmer, claims the company continued to use the game’s code that he developed after contractually agreeing not to do so.  Monday, a California federal judge decided the case would go to trial. Antonick worked for EA from 1984 to 1991.  During his tenure, he developed the first rendition of the game for Apple II,…
Continue reading...

Macy’s / J.C. Penney Martha Stewart Lawsuit is Not a Good Thing

On February 20, 2013, department stores  J.C. Penney Inc. and Macy’s Inc. faced off in a new arena – a New YorkState courtroom.  The two retailers are going to trial over Martha Stewart.  Macy’s suit accuses J.C. Penney of attempting to convince Martha Stewart to break her company’s exclusive merchandise contract with the department store chain – a contract Macy’s says gives them the exclusive rights to sell certain Martha Stewart products until 2018.  Part of Macy’s lawsuit reads: “J.C. Penney want[s] to rob Macy’s…
Continue reading...

Mike Tyson Seeks to Punch-Out Former Financial Advisors with Lawsuit

On February 20, 2013, former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiary SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises Inc. in California state court.  Tyson’s suit accuses the Defendants of damaging him financially by embezzling more than $300,000.00 from Tyson and his wife, along with providing Tyson false financial advice that ended up costing the former star more than $5 million. Tyson has had a financial relationship with the Defendants since 2005.  Later, when the boxer…
Continue reading...

The Grinch Might Have Stolen Christmas, but Suit Says Disney Stole Christmas Movie Idea

On January 14, 2013, two producers, Beth Grossbard and Barri Rosenblum, sued Disney, ABC, ABC Family and former ABC executive Beth Miller for breach of an implied in-fact contract and breach of confidence. Grossbard and Rosenblum allege the network stole their idea for a Christmas movie. Grossbard and Rosenblum pitched the idea for a movie called “I Hate Christmas” to ABC Family executives in 2005.  Although the network turned down their movie idea, their complaint contends that the executives reworked those same ideas into “The…
Continue reading...

Former Agent Sues for Cut of ‘Pawn Stars’ Profits

Talent Agency, Venture IAB Inc., filed suit against A&E Television Networks LLC, claiming they signed on to represent the cast of The History Channel’s hit reality show “Pawn Stars” back in 2007, but were wrongfully terminated soon after the show aired in 2009. The main issue at hand involves the representation agreements between Venture IAB and The Harrison Family (Corey Harrison, Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison) and Austin “Chumlee” Russell, who operate the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Venture IAB claims…
Continue reading...

Yuuuup! ‘Storage Wars’ Ex-Cast Member Claims Show is Staged

David Hester, former star of A&E’s hit reality show “Storage Wars,” filed a wrongful discharge claim in violation of public policy against the network and production company on Tuesday. Hester asserts that he was terminated in retaliation for voicing his opinion in regards to the reality show’s allegedly staged and fraudulent practices in rigging the contents of the storage units up for auction. “Storage Wars” follows buyers who bid for abandoned storage lockers hoping to find valuables that they can sell for a profit. The…
Continue reading...

No Doubt Settles ‘Band Hero’ Lawsuit over Avatars with Activision

On October 3, 2012, popular musicians No Doubt settle their ongoing lawsuit against Activision Publishing, Inc. over the use of the group’s ‘avatars’ in the ‘Band Hero’ video game. No Doubt had filed suit for breach of contract and right to publicity claims when it was discovered that players could use the No Doubt avatars to perform songs in the game by other musicians. No Doubt alleged that they had been “turned into a virtual karaoke act” by the game, and asserted that the game…
Continue reading...

California Appellate Court Friendly Venue for Suit Against Kudrow

The Second District Court of Appeal in California has revived a suit against “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow by her ex-manager, Scott Howard, stating that Howard’s expert witness testimony was improperly rejected by the lower courts. Howard brought suit against Kudrow in 2008, alleging that the actress had violated the terms of an oral contract when she declined to pay him a percentage of her earnings. Howard represented Kudrow from 1991 until his termination in 2007 and played a part in getting her the lucrative role…
Continue reading...

Weinsteins’ Suit Against ‘Scream’ Writer Williamson is about the Contract, not the Copyrights

On August 23, 2012, California Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy refused to dismiss a suit brought by The Weintstein Co., LLC against ‘Scream’ writer Kevin Williamson.  In essence, the ruling resolved a dispute over whether the action was preempted by the Copyright Act, or was, in fact, a simple contract dispute.  Judge Murphy held that the case could proceed as it is based in contract and The Weinstein Co.had not alleged any copyright infringement or any other acts forbidden by federal law. In its…
Continue reading...