Hollywood Docket: Charlie Rose Intern Lawsuit; Ron Paul vs. YouTube; and More

Charlie Rose Podium - P 2011
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Charlie Rose Podium - P 2011

The entertainment industry has been hit with another challenge on the low-level labor front as a former intern at the Charlie Rose show has filed a class action over alleged violations of New York's wage laws.

Lucy Bickerton lodged the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, alleging that she wasn't paid despite working 25 hours a week for three months in the summer of 2007. The complaint was filed on behalf of all other unpaid interns who have worked on the show in the past five years. Bickerton says there were 10 other interns working for Rose during the time she spent on the show.

The plaintiff, a 2008 graduate of Wesleyan University, says her duties included assembling background research and press packets, escorting guests, digesting Rose's interviews and cleaning.

She joins others who have brought similar suits in recent months, including a intern suing fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar and former interns suing Fox Searchlight after working on Black Swan.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has typically been interpreted to allow companies to have unpaid interns if there's educational benefit involved, but the Labor Department has also made it clear that interns can't replace regular employees. In the Bickerton lawsuit, it's alleged that "“unpaid interns are becoming the modern-day equivalent of entry-level employees, except that employers are not paying them for the many hours they work.”

In other entertainment and media law news:

  • Dr. Dre, the hip hop artist/producer, has fired off a cease-and-desist letter to a music producer, DiamondDRE, for causing confusion in the music community. The demand to cease came after Drew Reyes registered "DiamondDRE" at the U.S trademark office.
  • Josh Homme is suing his former Kyuss bandmates who have reunited and attempting to perform under the moniker, Kyuss Lives! Homme, who now fronts Queens of the Stone Age, is alleging trademark infringement, misrepresentation, and false designation.
  • In a lawsuit evocative of the AP's fight against Shepard Fairey over the Obama "Hope" poster, photographer Glen Friedman is suing artist David Flores for violating copyright by using his pictures of the Beastie Boys as the basis for his artwork. Friedman previously sued "Mr. Brainwash" on similar grounds last year.
  • Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been unsuccessful in getting a judge to subpoena YouTube and Twitter to identify those reponsible for a nasty attack advertisement. The judge determined that the anonymous defendant hadn't used Paul's name in a commercial fashion and that his trademark claims were suspect. Here's our earlier look at this lawsuit.
  • A few notable hires in the entertainment law world: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton has hired Harmoni Chinen, Matthew Dysart and Nina Kinch. Chinen was an attorney at Fox Cable Networks, Dysart practiced most recently with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and Kinch joins from Counterpoint Systems.