Two Very Entertaining Copyright Suits
First, songwriter Mason Hall filed a copyright infringement suit against Lionsgate in a Georgia district court last week. Hall claims Lionsgate’s documentary More Than A Game, which chronicles LeBron James’s rise to glory during his high school days, used Hall’s song composition entitled, “We Ready” without a license. (Here’s the music video for the version used in the film.) Before even addressing fair use questions, Hall must surmount the obstacle of proving that the song is actually his. Hall claims it’s his composition and that it was originally recorded by Archie Eversole, Jr. (Check out Eversole’s recording here.) Hall seeks an injunction against Lionsgate’s distribution of the film and demands over $1 million in punitive damages as well as profits from the documentary.
Then, Hugo award-winning author Harlan Ellison filed suit against New Regency and director Andrew Niccol for an alleged copyright infringement of the film In Time, scheduled to be released next month. Ellison claims the film starring the studly Justin Timberlake (and Amanda Seyfried) is based on Ellison’s critically acclaimed sci-fi short story “Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.” The challenge for Ellison, as with most copyright infringement plaintiffs, will be proving substantial similarity between the two works. Ellison is demanding an injunction against 20th Century Fox’s distribution of the film as well as 100% of film’s profits.