Month: January 2015

Court gets the wookies over a flying-car suit

Imagine a world where the sky is the limit and cars can take off from a vertical launching pad, shooting straight up into the heavens. If you’re a Star Wars fan, this type of technological advancement doesn’t seem far fetched: it’s the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter. And for Joseph Alfred, it doesn’t seem like an idea incapable of grasping here on this planet. So why on Earth did Alfred  sue the Walt Disney Co. in Delaware’s Court of Chancery? Because Disney wouldn’t accept his idea to build a real flying car. Make sense? The court didn’t think so either, and shot his plans down.  The court dismissed the case for two main reasons: a lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted. (A mighty Mickey thanks to the Hollywood Reporter Esq. for posting the case decision online). None of the parties in the suit, including Alfred, had applicable legal ties to Delaware. Alfred tried his luck since Disney is a Delaware corporation. But the court also dismissed the case because of the absence of a claim. Meaning? Disney has a trademark in the design for a T-65 X-Wing Starfighter plane depicted in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. This means, basically, that only Disney can make anything that can easily be confused with its flying car, otherwise the other guy will be in for some major Mickey disapproval. Alfred asserted that a company that he pulled out of the...

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Contract holds on ‘Home Improvement’ profits

When some of Hollywood’s biggest players hunker down, strap on their legal tool belts and negotiate a deal that, court documents show, will be worth somewhere between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, it’s safe to assume that no comma in the contract will go without extra scrutiny and every why and wherefore in any document will be tussled over and clear as a bell, right? Well, after a protracted battle over who was owed what from the 1990s hit television show Home Improvement, a Superior Court in California has found it clear that Wind Dancer Production Group was a savvy party that knew exactly what it was getting into in its deal with Walt Disney Pictures. And gone with the breeze went Wind Dancer’s suit, in a grant of summary judgment that might give many an Entertainment lawyer pause to think even harder about their tool kits of negotiations and contracts. Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger in Los Angeles granted summary judgment in part for Disney in early January, in a suit that brought against it by Wind Dancer over the sitcom contracts (a tip of the hat to the Hollywood Reporter for posting his honor’s rulings online.) Disney had licensed the show for syndication in various territories for less than the market value and did not consult with the show’s creators. While Wind Dancer received financial summaries...

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In Iggy Azalea ruling, rap’s ugly aspects show

When an ambitious teen from Down Under travels to the United States to launch a career in a rough-and-tumble part of the music business, the results aren’t always pretty, as the artist known as Iggy Azalea has discovered. A U.S. District Court in Los Angles recently granted her a preliminary injunction, enjoining Primco Management, ESMG Inc., and Wine Enterprises Inc. from using Azalea’s image and releasing what she calls unauthorized tracks from the rap star’s formative years.The order is part of litigation over an agreement that defendant Maurice Williams, aka Hefe Wine, claims Azalea signed in 2009 that gives him full ownership and exploitation rights to the early recordings. She says the accord is fabricated and her signature on it was forged — that it was cut and pasted from an early management contract with another individual that Wine took from Azalea. Just reading the ruling provides plenty of eyebrow-raising reading about the relationship-building in rap, which apparently can be a raw as the genre’s lyrics.The early recordings, Azalea asserts, were stolen from her during her brief relationship with Wine, when she was age 17 and he, among other things, made “unwelcome sexual advances” on her. Amethyst Amelia Kelly, aka Azalea, says he downloaded the contents of her personal computer, including unreleased musical sound recordings she created and performed. The performer, songwriter and model says she never completed nor approved...

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