Not Again?! WB Lawyers Target Charlie Sheen
Warner Bros. isn't quite over its bitter breakup with Charlie Sheen. Lawyers for the Two and Half Men studio, which in September settled Sheen's $100 million wrongful termination lawsuit over his firing from the hit CBS sitcom, have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the actor, the FX network and production company Debmar-Mercury demanding that they stop using Warner Bros.-owned photos in connection with his upcoming comedy Anger Management.
At least two shots of Sheen from his Men days -- including one featuring the actor posed on a motorcycle -- were included in a promotional publication that was distributed in January at the NATPE conference in Miami, where Sheen and his new partners were busy pitching the June debut of their show to advertisers. Harmless mistake? Copyright infringement, says Warners (statutory damages can run $150,000 per infraction, according to federal law). "That you are using Warners' intellectual property for a commercial purpose -- namely, to sell another show -- is especially egregious," studio lawyer Katherine Chilton wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by THR. "Please immediately cease and desist from using these photographs or any other intellectual property belonging to Warners."
FX, Debmar-Mercury and Sheen attorney Marty Singer declined comment, but a source close to Anger Management says the use of the Men images was inadvertent and occurred only because Sheen, who has been busy casting the cable show with writer-producer Bruce Helford, hasn't had a chance to take new publicity photos. Says the source, "It won't happen again."