Hollywood Docket: Retired Football Players, Lady Gaga, Pawn Stars, and the Love Boat

NFL Films is being sued by a class of retired professional football players who object to having their names, images and likenesses used in both footage and the promotion of films.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Minnesota federal court by former Green Bay Packers player Darrell Thompson on behalf of himself and others, comes as NFL team owners and the players' association come closer to ending labor strife that has shut down the league. One of the points of negotiation is how to take care of retired football players.

As a deal comes closer, the NFL has now been hit with a class action by former players.

The complaint quotes the NY Times as opining that NFL Films "has grown for nearly four decades into one of the great movie studios in the country" and cites the NFL Films website as touting its mission to have "world-renowned filmmakers fusing the visceral world of pro football and the romance of celluloid."

"Of course, the nameless 'quarterback,' 'receiver' and 'defender' NFL Films describes as starring in its promotional, revenue-generating films are not nameless," says the complaint.

In other entertainment legal news:

  • Muhammad Ali Enterprises is suing a digital bookseller for using his trademarked slogan, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” slogan without permission.
  • Lady Gaga's YouTube account has been suspended because she posted footage from a recent appearance on a Japanese TV show, which resulted in a takedown notice. YouTube typically suspends accounts after multiple violations.
  • A&E Television Network sent a Florida pawn shop a cease-and-desist letter over the name "Pawn Stars," its hit reality show. The Florida shop returned fire by pointing out that it had registered the term "Pawn Star" in 2006, three years before A&E's show debuted.
  • Newport Television, a TV station holding company in the Northeast, sent a cease-and-desist letter to a non-profit media reform organization called Free Press, which had come out with a video decrying the "covert consolidation" of media companies. Newport claims that use of its logos constituted copyright infringement.
  • Those who remember the old TV show Love Boat may remember the boat itself. The vessel is now deteriorating and in defective condition, and the Spanish company that purchased it is now pursuing the seller for a nearly $60 million securities fraud. The case has gone all the way up to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a decision last Friday that allows the case to go forward. This is what happens when iconic Hollywood sets lose their luster.


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