'Lovelace' wins in $10 million lawsuit over 'Deep Throat' trademarks

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Image Credit: Dale Robinette

Just days before Lovelace is scheduled to open in theaters, The Weinstein Company and Millennium Films were sued for $10 million by the trademark rights owners of the 1972 adult film Deep Throat. But Lovelace emerged victorious on Wednesday evening.

Arrow Productions filed a complaint in a federal court in New York City on Tuesday, claiming that the new biopic of Linda Lovelace, the onetime sex star who became an anti-porn crusader, violates their copyright by using “Deep Throat” and “Linda Lovelace” without their permission.

“We are relieved that common sense prevailed,” Millennium Films President Mark Gill told EW in a statement. “The suit was completely unwarranted. We believe this case was an insult to the legal safeguards in place maintaining our right to freedom of speech. It was without merit on every level. Arrow Productions’ complaint was transparent about its desire to control discussion about Deep Throat — a film they describe as a ‘watershed’ in American popular culture — and to hinder projects that would compete with theirs. The law does not support either of these motives.”

In addition to damages, Arrow asked for a court-ordered injunction that would prevent the release of the film.

“More than five minutes of footage in Lovelace are copyrighted material taken from Deep Throat,” Arrow argued in the suit. “Defendants use that footage without license or permission. In fact, the title Lovelace derives its market appeal entirely from decades of cultural cache embodied in the trademarked name Linda Lovelace. … Rather than negotiating licenses for Deep Throat IP, rather than deferring to Arrow’s vision for the Deep Throat brand, Defendants have simply taken what they wanted and crossed their fingers.”

According to the suit, Arrow reached out to Millennium in December 2010, when pre-production details of Lovelace became public, and made them aware of their legal claims. At around that time, Arrow had licensed Deep Throat for the making of another Lovelace film, titled Inferno, the abandoned rival movie that was going to star Lindsay Lohan as the porn star.

Lovelace will be released as planned on Friday.

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