2009 Lecture 11 Actual

2009 Lecture 11 Actual - ENTERTAINMENT LAW University of...

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ENTERTAINMENT LAW University of Southern California Fall 2009 / Lecture 11 Prof. Michael Grizzi
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Ripped from the headlines A Los Angeles judge has shut down an effort by former members of the ska-punk band Sublime to perform under the name. Trademark lawsuit brought by the estate of frontman Bradley Nowell, who died of a drug overdose in 1996. Surviving band members have continued to perform – first under the name “Long Beach Dub Allstars” - but recently they revived the “Sublime” name when they recruited a new lead vocalist.
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(From RATT to Sublime …) Family: "It was Brad's expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark 'Sublime' under his own name.“ Judge Howard Matz has agreed with the family, issuing an injunction citing the estate's likelihood of prevailing on its trademark claim.
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Question from a classmate In our last class, you raised the question of Blaustein's experience in the film industry and his being a prominent producer. Should the court have perhaps been less sympathetic to his case because of his success as a producer, as in, he should have known better how the industry worked and have taken precautions? Or that because he wasn't a naive, unsophisticated party, the Burtons must have seriously breached some kind of contract if it drove someone like Blaustein to bring a suit against them?
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Blaustein v. Burton , 9 Cal. App.3d 161 (1970) Facts of case The court concluded that given the circumstances surrounding the disclosure of an idea , an implied-in-fact contract was created even though the idea was not novel. Because Blaustein was an experienced producer, the court found that the Burtons had consented to an implied contract that if they got together with Zefferelli to make “Taming of the Shrew,” Blaustein would be entitled to produce and receive a fee.
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Entertainment contract obligations and the nature of relationships in the industry What performance obligations can be enforced? Goudal v. Cecil B. Demille Pictures Corp., 118 Cal. App. 407 (1931) Court: “a willful act or willful misconduct … is absent when the actress uses her best efforts to give an artistic performance and to serve the interests of her employer …”
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Loew’s Inc. v. Cole Facts of case A writer, Lester Cole, had refused to answer the question: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?’ before the House Unamerican Activities Committee MGM (Loew’s Inc.) thereafter suspended him under the "morals clause" of his contract.
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Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal: Cole’s actions had dealt a heavy blow to the public’s image of the studio It would have been reasonable for a jury to conclude he was a Communist (from his refusal to answer) MGM and Cole eventually settled
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A sample morals clause “If Performer should, prior to or during the term hereof or thereafter, fail, refuse or
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2009 Lecture 11 Actual - ENTERTAINMENT LAW University of...

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