Hollywood Docket: Arnold Schwarzenegger Lawsuit; 'Right to Be Forgotten'; J.K. Rowling Settlement
A roundup of entertainment law news including the end to battles over "The Crow" and "90210."
As California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger once presided over an expansion of the state's publicity rights laws protecting names, images and likenesses.
He's now suing a Nevada company, Arnold Nutrition Group, for $10 million in claimed damages upon allegations that it has "brazenly stolen and exploited" his likeness in the marketing of its products.
According to the complaint, Schwarzenegger "would never endorse or affiliate himself with any fitness or nutritional product without first undertaking rigorous research, testing and due diligence to ensure that the product is healthy and helpful to athletes and the general product."
This isn't the first time that Schwarzenegger has enjoyed the state's publicity right statute. A few months after taking political office back in 2004, one of his companies sued the maker of a machine gun-toting bobble-head doll made in his image. That case was later settled. Schwarzenegger hasn't always been litigious. He never took the suggestion that he should sue a video game maker who came out with a game with a character with a thick Austrian accent.
In other entertainment law news:
- From publicity to privacy, specifically a big ruling in Europe over a "right to be forgotten." Since the decision on Tuesday that directs that in some circumstances, Google must remove "irrelevant" and outdated data upon a European's request, there's been all sorts of opinions on its ramifications. These range from those who believe the ruling "might just be the straw that breaks the camel's -- or the Internet's -- back" to those who assert an overreaction. "Sorry, old Nazis, you can't use this to hide your involvement in the Holocaust," writes one legal observer. "In fact, public figures and public events will never be erased."
- An interesting new lawsuit of note: Rocart, the producer of Nickelodeon shows including iCarly, The Thundermans, and Haunted Hathaways, is being sued by three teachers of child actors who claim to have been misclassified as independent contractors to avoid paying employee benefits.
- No, disparaging a law firm as one that "specializes in restaurant law" is not defamatory. So says a New York appeals court in a victory for WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. The case emanated from a billion dollar lawsuit from India's largest news network claiming that Nielsen ratings were manipulated.
- Settlement? On May 5, Jeff Most, the producer who claimed that he was cut out of a planned remake of The Crow, voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit. He demanded $1 million in damages, and a trial was set for August, but no longer. Most's attorney hasn't responded to a request for comment.
- Definitely settled: Jamie Squillare, the set dresser who alleged got a job on the series, 90210, by agreeing to have sex with a supervisor and then sued over a hostile work environment after she was fired, has resolved her case against CBS Studios, 90210 Productions, Michael Sunga. The judge deemed the case settled on May 2.
- One more settlement: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has put to bed a defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail over a story headlined, "How J.K. Rowling's sob story about her past as a single mother has left the churchgoers who cared for her upset and bewildered." The case was one of the first filed after the UK changed its defamation standards to make plaintiffs show evidence of financial damages and allow defendants a defense for statements published in the "public interest." Despite the tougher road, Rowling still obtained money for a charity and gained a printed apology.
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