Entertainment Law News for 4.26.10

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment
  • A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of embattled Hollywood exec David Bergstein after he failed to appear Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court to explain what assets he has to pay off more than $1 million owed to a Las Vegas casino. [THR]
  • The debate over whether states can regulate the sale of violent video games has begun! Yesterday’s news that the Supreme Court will consider the California law banning sales of gory games to minors has set the wheels of punditry in motion. One reporter is glad the Court might finally put this issue to rest for good. [PCW]
  • Gawker Media is accusing the San Mateo police department of violating California’s press shield law by raiding the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen and seizing four computers, two servers and other hardware. In a letter to police, Gawker COO points out a 2006 Superior Court decision that applied shield protections to online journalists. [Gizmodo]
  • The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department booked and held in custody Randy Quaid and his wife Evi after they missed several court dates tied to an owed hotel bill. [Reuters]
  • Advertising giant WPP is once again suing media start-up Spot Runner for skimming $54 million while selling its own shares. A previous “pump and dump” claim was dismissed and one of the company’s top execs started AgencyDivision, a firm that wants to help tech companies with TV ad campaigns. [CNS / TechCrunch]

Entertainment Law News for 4.15.10

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Law enforcement has shut down Steven Seagal’s “Lawman” reality show after a former model sued him for allegedly attempting to make her his “sex toy.” [THR]
  • Charlie Sheen’s lawyers are attempting to suppress incriminating statements made by the actor on grounds that cops failed to read him his Miranda rights. [TMZ]
  • Pennsylvania regulators have determined that TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” should have obtained child-labor permits, but no action will be taken if a portion of the canceled show’s proceeds are put in a trust fund for the children. [AP]
  • Heidi Montag says she’s going to sue “The Hills” creator Adam DiVello. [L&S]
  • A controversy over whether public universities have a legal duty to reveal contracts with non-disclosure provisions took a strange twist recently. Students at a California state university where Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak fished the contract for her appearance out of a trash bin. “This is our little Watergate in the state of California,” said a state senator. [Washington Post]

Entertainment Law News for 4.8.10

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment
  • AFTRA president Roberta Reardon and four other elected officials have penned an open letter to members calling for a “new and stronger national union” for all performers. The letter is the latest move toward a proposed merger with SAG, which is getting mixed reaction amid a call for more details about how the new union would work. [Backstage / Digital Media Law]
  • Are production companies breaking labor law by not paying production assistants? One commentator argues they deserve better treatment. [THR]
  • A coalition led by the MPAA is expected to file comments with the Commodities Future Trading Commission in an attempt to stop speculators from betting against the future performance of films in an exchange market. [NYT]
  • Altinex, a maker of industrial electronic equipment, is seeking a judgment that would let it sell its products under the mark “Showtime,” despite CBS and Showtime Network’s trademark objections. [Read the complaint]
  • The New York actress who voiced the “milkaholic” baby “Lindsay” in the E-Trade commercial at the heart of the infamous lawsuit by Lindsay Lohan is quite a comedian. Jenn Harris recently performed as a drunken Lindsay Lohan at a local New York hotspot and is complaining the Lohan is interfering with her plan to use residuals from the ad to pay off her student loans. “I wanna sue her for stalemating my residuals,” Harris wrote on her Facebook fan page. [NYP]

MLBPA Threatening to File Grievance

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

The Major League Baseball Players Association is thinking about filing a collusion grievance charging owners with conspiring against free agents last winter, according to the Associated Press.  Union head Michael Weiner confirmed to the AP that there is an ongoing investigation.

“We have concerns about the operation of the post-2009 free agent market,” Weiner said.  “We have been investigating that market. Our investigation is far along but not yet complete.”

Agents for players have claimed that they have received multiple similar offers for free agent clients and have urged the union to speak up on the matter.

The union also alleged misconduct by teams following the 2008 season.  The two sides reached a standstill agreement, giving the players’ association more time to decide whether to proceed with a grievance on that matter.

Categories: MLB

Entertainment Law News for 4.6.10

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment
  • In a big blow to the “net neutrality” movement, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FCC lacks authority to require broadband providers to provide equal treatment to all Internet traffic. Big win for Comcast. [THR]
  • LA Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor has been appointed to oversee the manslaughter case against former Michael Jackson physician Conrad Murray. Several members of Jackson’s family and a number of his fans showed up to proceedings yesterday. [AP]
  • Sean Penn has been sued by a photographer who claims he was shooting a documentary about paparazzi when he was kicked and punched by the actor and had to have knee surgery as a result of the beating. Penn was charged with criminal battery over the incident last month. [TMZ]
  • A judge has ruled in favor of the AP in most of its requests for evidence against artist Shepard Fairey, accused of infringing the news agency’s copyright when creating the Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The judge ordered the defendant to disclose the identities of anyone who helped delete or destroy records. [AP]
  • The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case over whether a website’s links to other sites featuring defamatory statements constitutes defamation in itself. [Canadian Press]
  • One lawsuit begets another: The financial agency that says it helped celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz land a $40 million deal to help settle her financial troubles, now says it is owed $800,000 in fees, according to a new lawsuit. [NY Post]

Entertainment Law News for your April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2010 Leave a comment
  • LL Cool J is complaining that Fox News is “misrepresenting” a 2008 interview he gave with another reporter to create the appearance he’s participating in a new show hosted by Sarah Palin. As a result, Fox says it has cut his appearance from the program. This news comes as lawyers for Fox News will be appearing in court next week over an allegedly unauthorized use of an interview with Michael Jackson’s ex-wife. [TV Newser]
  • Today in David Bergstein legal news: A federal court has granted Aramid Entertainment Fund an injunction to stop a Bergstein entity from auctioning off the movie “Black Water Transit.” [THR]
  • A Los Angeles filmmaking couple faces more than 20 years in prison today after being convicted of bribing Thai officials so they could run the Bangkok International Film Festival. They are the first entertainment industry figures to have been convicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. [AP]
  • A judge has found a 37-year-old man who pleaded no contest to charges of stalking Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner not guilty by reason of insanity. The man was sent to a state mental hospital. [Find Law]
  • Battles between copyright holders and file-sharing websites are getting uglier. Russian-led torrent site Vertor has shipped condom packs with the message, “We wish your parents had used it,” to the RIAA, MPAA and various other anti-piracy outfits. [TF]

Entertainment Law News for 3.30.10

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Producer Craig Nevius has responded to the lawsuit filed against him by the estate of Farrah Fawcett. Nevius, who was sued for botching the documentary of the late actress and embezzling, claims the estate has mishandled money. [AP]
  • A U.K. High Court judge has given the MPAA a victory over Newzbin, a site that indexes files posted to Usenet newsgroups, ruling that the website helped its members violate copyrights. The decision extends the liability of an ISP. [LAT]
  • Kelsey Grammer is paying just $10 to settle a lawsuit with a man who claimed the 2008 film “Swing Vote” had copied his script. [TMZ]
  • Google doesn’t like the suggestion that targeting a journalist for allegedly participating in the leak of sealed documents is similar to China’s efforts to crack down on free speech. [C&C]
  • Actor Rip Torn plans to enter pleas to burglary and firearm charges after allegedly becoming intoxicated and breaking into a bank with a loaded gun thinking it was his home. [AP]