Hollywood Docket: Fox News, Spike Lee, Don Henley Settle Lawsuits

Spike Lee - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Spike Lee - H 2015

Fox News can cancel its request to friend the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, upon advisement of a settlement, a federal judge discontinued a lawsuit against the cable news network brought by the North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record and the Herald News and owner of a photograph of three firefighters raising the American flag at the ruins of the World Trade Center site.

The photo was posted to the Facebook page of Fox News' television program Justice with Judge Jeanine, juxtaposed with a World War II photograph of four U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima.

In February, the judge wouldn't let Fox News' fair use arguments defeat the copyright claims. In March, Fox News requested permission for an interlocutory appeal that aimed to present a federal appeals court with the question of how to determine what's fair use in the context of social media.

That appeal won't happen, though. In a brief arguing for an appeal, Fox News wrote that the "sheer volume of activity on social media all but guarantees that fair use questions will recur."

Terms of the settlement weren't revealed in court.

In other entertainment law news:

Spike Lee appears to have resolved a lawsuit brought by a graphic designer over movie posters for Oldboy. The director was sued by Juan Luis Garcia for alleged copyright infringement in May 2014. The plaintiff worked with an agency and proposed the posters, but said he never got paid. Lee sought to throw the case into arbitration, but after a mediation session, the parties found resolution. No word on the terms.

Don Henley has taken care of advertisements from a clothing company that joked, "Don A Henley and Take It Easy.” The Eagles frontman sued Duluth Trading Company in October 2014, alleging violations of the Lanham Act as well as his publicity rights. A settlement was struck last month, and on Tuesday, the parties requested entry of a permanent injunction that will prohibit the clothing company from using Henley's name.

According to a court filing by Lionsgate, the studio is close to finalizing a settlement over Twiharder, which the producer presents as a parody of the much more famous Twilight films. Originally, Behind the Lines Productions brought a $500 million lawsuit with allegations the studio over-asserted its rights. Those claims were dismissed while some of the counterclaims survived and were on the verge of trial. A trial is still possible, but Lionsgate reports that "the parties have reached agreement on the majority of the settlement terms. BTL has not yet decided on the last material term proposed."

Settlements are usually satisfying to the parties, though their confidential nature precludes much public understanding about who really prevailed. On rare occasions, though, settlements can spark disputes down the line. Take Beyoncé Knowles' settlement in June 2013 with Gate Five, a videogame company that was preparing a motion-sensing dance game titled Starpower: Beyoncé. The game never happened because Beyonce allegedly held out at the last second for more compensation. Gate Five filed a $100 million lawsuit, and when it ended, there wasn't much information about what, if anything, Beyonce had paid to put the dispute to rest. That might change. Now comes Alcon Interactive Group, which in a new lawsuit, says it is owed 45 percent of the settlement. No word yet on what that's worth, but it's possible it will come to light.