The year in Hollywood law
Take that, "Avatar": "Star Trek" is named the most-pirated film of 2009, with nearly 11 million illegal downloads on Torrentfreak.com.
He probably just saw an early redline: As the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno battle rages, NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker tells Charlie Rose that there is "no guarantee of time slot for 'The Tonight Show' " in O'Brien's contract. But THR later reports that O'Brien's deal did define "Tonight" as "the series that airs at 11:35."
Next year, lawsuits will be built into Oscar campaigns: Army Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver sues the producers of "The Hurt Locker," claiming writer Mark Boal stole his life story. Four days later, the film wins best picture.
At least the kid wasn't wearing a SCRAM bracelet: Lindsay Lohan sues E-Trade for $100 million, claiming that a "milkaholic" baby in an ad was modeled after her. Lohan says she deserves the same single-name recognition as Oprah or Madonna.
He probably wasn't clear enough: Documents in the $1 billion Viacom/Google lawsuit reveal that YouTube co-founder Steve Chen wasn't shy about uploading copyrighted content. "Steal it!" he wrote. "We need to attract traffic." Viacom loses on summary judgment in June.
Maybe it was just Method acting: Fired "Desperate Housewives" co-star Nicollette Sheridan slaps creator Marc Cherry and ABC with a $20 million lawsuit, claiming Cherry assaulted her on the set.
They certainly weren't acting coaches: Production on Steven Seagal's A&E reality show is stopped when a former model sues for sexual harassment, claiming she applied for a job with Seagal before learning he "had been keeping two young female Russian 'attendants' on staff who were available for his sexual needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week." The case was later dismissed.
Couldn't it at least have been Fred or Barney? Hulk Hogan files a right-of-publicity lawsuit over an animated commercial for Cocoa Pebbles that depicts him suffering a humiliating defeat to Bam-Bam of "The Flintstones."
He should have phoned a joke-writer friend: In opening statements during the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" trial, Disney lawyer Marty Katz tells the jury it's up to them to deliver a "final answer." Three weeks later they do: Disney loses.
Every Hollywood lawyer is now working on a Michael Jackson case: On the anniversary of Jackson's death, father Joe Jackson files a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Conrad Murray.
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