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Tag: Legal (1-10 of 17)

'Midnight Rider' team charged with involuntary manslaughter in train wreck

A Georgia county court has charged director Randall Miller and two producers of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass following the February on-set death of 27-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Jones. “An indictment has been returned in Wayne Superior Court charging Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass,” announced Jackie L. Johnson, Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, in a statement. “Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison under Georgia law. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 12 months.”

Jones, a camera assistant, was killed on a train trestle during an action sequence being filmed in Wayne County, Ga., in February. Jones was hit by a speeding train, and several other crew members were injured in the accident. Production on the film was halted and has not resumed. READ FULL STORY

Academy sues auction house for selling an Oscar statuette

Note to actors desperate to own an Oscar: You can’t just buy one.

This week, people discovered that the Academy is quite serious about this rule. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing Briarbrook Auction Services for auctioning off Joseph Wright’s 1942 Oscar he was awarded for color and art direction on My Gal Sal. (Wright died in 1985.) The Academy’s by-laws state neither the recipients of the awards nor their successors can sell the statuettes without first offering them to the Academy, according to Deadline, which first reported news of the lawsuit.

Despite this rule, the statue was sold to an unknown buyer just one week ago for $79,200, and Tuesday the Academy filed the suit in Los Angeles. The Academy claims it sent a copy of its rules to the auction house and followed up with calls, but they sold it anyway.

Bryan Singer's accuser names three more Hollywood executives in lawsuits

Michael F. Egan, the 31-year old plaintiff who sued Bryan Singer last week for sexual abuse for events that occurred when he was 15, came forward again Monday to file similar charges against three additional men: former president of BBC Worldwide America Garth Ancier, former president of Disney TV David Neuman, and Gary Goddard, a designer who created theme park attractions for Universal Studios.

None of the new defendants have yet responded to the suit. READ FULL STORY

'Wolf of Wall Street' hit with $25 million defamation suit


Andrew Greene, who worked with notorious broker Jordan Belfort at Stratton Oakmont, is suing Paramount Pictures and the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, for $25 million because he claims the Oscar-nominated film defames his reputation. In the film, actor P.J. Byrne plays Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, a character with a ridiculous toupee that is portrayed as “a criminal, a drug user, and a degenerate” that Greene claims is falsely based on him.

In Belfort’s 2007 memoir, on which the film is based, Greene’s real name was used, but according to the lawsuit, Greene never gave the filmmakers his consent for his involvement in the film — perhaps explaining the character’s name change. Greene claims that he has been maliciously and willfully defamed “as a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies. Mr. Greene is portrayed as an individual with no moral or ethical values, which is injurious to him in his trade, business, or profession.” READ FULL STORY

'Raging Bull' copyright appeal going to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court pondered Tuesday whether the daughter of the man whose work was the basis of the Oscar-winning movie Raging Bull should go another round with a major movie studio over copyright infringement for ownership of boxer Jake LaMotta’s life story.

The Raging Bull case involves an appeal from Paula Petrella, the daughter of Frank Petrella, whose written work inspired the movie. Frank Petrella collaborated with his friend LaMotta on two screenplays and a book, which were used to make the movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro. The 1980 film won two Oscars, including best actor for De Niro.

The elder Petrella died in 1981, with his copyrights reverting to his daughter. She sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. for copyright infringement for creating and distributing copies of the movie, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said she waited too long before filing her lawsuit.

Now she wants justices to resurrect her lawsuit. They will make a decision later this year.

New Jersey tribe sues over Christian Bale film

Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie they say depicts their people in a negative light.

The federal suit was filed Monday in New Jersey against the writers and producers of Out of the Furnace. The suit claims the film makes false representations about the people who live in the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border about 25 miles west of New York City. READ FULL STORY

'It's a Wonderful Life' sequel: Paramount promises a fight

Paramount won’t be giving any wings to a planned It’s a Wonderful Life sequel.

A studio spokeswoman said Wednesday that Paramount would fight the proposed follow-up to the 1946 holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart as George Baily, a desperate family man who imagines what his town would be like if he’d never been born. Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions announced plans Monday to create a sequel titled It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story.

Bob Farnsworth, president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hummingbird Productions, told trade publication Variety that the film was set for release in 2015 and would star Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter in the original film.

“No project relating to It’s a Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount,” the studio said in a statement. “To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.”

Producer says 'Trouble With the Curve' was his idea, files lawsuit against Warner Bros.


Earlier today, Ryan Brooks and Gold Glove Productions filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that the concept for Warner Bros.’ 2012 film Trouble With the Curve was stolen from three of the production company’s copyrighted scripts as well as a concept reel.

The lawsuit alleges that the script for Trouble With the Curve, which was credited to Randy Brown, was originally for a film titled Omaha, written by Don Handfield. Both scripts focus on a father-daughter relationship in the middle of a baseball story, and now, it’s being alleged that he was involved in changing the script into what would become Trouble With the Curve, before Brown’s name was stamped on the work.

The lawsuit claims, “Don Handfield’s writing style, tics, and persona are like fingerprints and DNA all over Trouble With the Curve, which steals the very story noted above from Omaha, including aspects from notes by Handfield and Brooks when they worked together on Omaha and earlier treatments of Omaha (when entitled Run Down).” It continues: “In short, Don Handfield helped write the original, copyrighted work Omaha for Plaintiff Gold Glove Productions as a requested work-for-hire but had a falling out with its founder and creator of that project, college baseball standout, Plaintiff Brooks. Thus, Don Handfield switched the setting, adjusted the trimmings, and gave birth to an infringing counterfeit version of the same story.”

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

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.”

'Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out': 'This case just seems to set everyone off' says director -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Roman Polanski can make 1,000 more films as good as Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby, but for many Americans, he remains the flamboyant Hollywood director who drugged and had sex with a 13-year-old girl and then fled the country before justice could be served. The facts, of course, are much more complicated than that, and director Marina Zenovich picked at the scabs of the decades-old scandal for her Emmy-winning 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

But though Zenovich had investigated why Polanski felt compelled to leave the country in 1978 before he could be shackled with a potentially harsh jail sentence, her high-profile documentary may have had an adverse impact on Polanski’s current situation. “It kind of fanned the flames,” says Zenovich. “This case just seems to set everyone off.”

Shortly after Zenovich accepted her Emmys in September of 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland and the U.S. began extradition proceedings. He was imprisoned for 10 months before Swiss authorities released him and said it would not hand him over to the American legal system. Zenovich, who’d already been working on a short epilogue, chronicling Polanski’s legal team’s attempt to clear his name, saw her planned postscript turn into an “international thriller,” that ultimately became Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out.

In the new documentary, which becomes available On-Demand March 26 and will air on Showtime this fall, Zenovich visited Samantha Geimer, the now-grown woman who had that fateful counter with Polanski when she was 13, at her Hawaii home. “I was able to go and see her where she kind of escaped to,” says Zenovich. “My idea was that he was in exile in France [all these years], and she was in exile in Hawaii.”

Geimer’s mother, Susan Gailey, an actress herself who many blamed for the conditions that led to the 1977 incident, wasn’t part of the first documentary, but she agreed to speak on-camera for Odd Man Out. In an exclusive video clip, Gailey gets right to the heart of why the Polanski case remains such an infuriating and polarizing political obsession. “When Samantha called, she said, ‘Mom, Polanski was arrested,’ and now that I’m reminded, I said, ‘What did he do?'” says Gailey. “I don’t understand this. I mean, I don’t understand why this is back.”

Watch the exclusive clip and the movie’s trailer below. READ FULL STORY

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