Hollywood Docket: FilmOn Denied; 'Mob Wives' Lawsuit; Lawrence Lessig Settles

Alki David's company won't get time during the Supreme Court's Aereo hearing in April.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has denied a petition by FilmOn X to intervene in the broadcasters' upcoming battle with Aereo

FilmOn, another digital distributor of television, filed a motion to intervene in early February. Run by billionaire Alki David, FilmOn hasn't been particularly successful in courtrooms, suffering injunctions at the hands of judges in California and the District of Columbia.

In its petition to intervene, FilmOn wanted a similar opportunity as Aereo to argue that its distribution of copyrighted television programming was a private rather than public performance and argued "Aereo has an incentive to leave injunctions against its primary competitor intact and may not adequately represent FilmOn X’s interest before this Court.”

The argument didn't persuade the high court. Without any comment, the Supreme Court denied the petition on Monday.

The Aereo hearing is scheduled to be heard at the Supreme Court on April 22.

In other entertainment law news:

  • Karen Gravano, the daughter of Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano who has starred on VH1's Mob Wives, has filed a $40 million lawsuit against makers of the blockbuster video game, Grand Theft Auto V. The complaint filed in New York Supreme Court alleges that Rockstar Games has stolen her name, image and likeness. "Her story is unique and is hers to tell," says the lawsuit. This isn't the first time that a Grand Theft Auto game has triggered a publicity rights lawsuit. Notably, Michael Washington once sued and failed in his own $250 million lawsuit when the defendant raised a transformative fair use defense.
  • Universal Studios is dealing with its own life rights lawsuit. In Georgia federal court, Ereina "Honey Rockwell Valencia has brought a $70 million complaint alleging that her name and story were used for Honey, a film about an up and coming hip hop dance instructor. The film came out in 2003 and spawned a sequel in 2010. The plaintiff cites identifiable characteristics including the character's stage name of "Honey," Hispanic ethnicity, occupation, a Bronx locale and affiliation with the same dance studios in the film.
  • Lawrence Lessig, a famous Harvard professor with influential work in the intellectual property community, has settled a lawsuit with Liberation Music Pty Ltd, a publisher of Phoenix songs. Last August, Lessig went on the legal attack after a 49-minute lecture he gave on the topic of cultural and technological innovation was removed from YouTube. Lessig believed that the video was taken down after a takedown notice was served over the lecture's inclusion of a group of people dancing to the hit Phoenix song "Lisztomania." The professor sued for an alleged violation of Section 512(f) of the DMCA because the defendant "acted in bad faith when it sent the takedown notice." The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented Lessig, announced on its site that the case had been settled with a confidential payment. The money will go to EFF's work for open access causes.

Twitter: @eriqgardner