Neil deGrasse Tyson Asks Court to End Ex-Business Partner's Copyright Lawsuit

The astrophysicist says his former business partner signed a release of claims when he sold his stake in Curved Light Productions.
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Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson is asking the court to grant summary judgment in his favor in a lawsuit filed against him by his former business partner. 

David Gamble sued in August the astrophysicist, along with his company Curved Light Productions. He claims the scientist tricked him into selling his share of the company, which they founded together to produce the radio show StarTalk in 2007, and has been using without permission a copyrighted portrait that Gamble took. 

Now deGrasse Tyson is asking the court to bring an end to the matter, arguing that when Gamble sold his stake in Curved Light in 2013 he signed a broad release of any claims he had ever had or would ever have against the company and the scientist individually.

"Gamble’s ill-fated original Complaint asserted claims for fraud and breach of contract that Gamble ultimately withdrew based on documentary evidence known to Gamble, as author or recipient, that completely contradicted such claims," writes attorney Merri Moken. "The re-packaged claims in the FAC suffer the same deficiency and from what appears to be Gamble’s selective rendition of the facts – none more telling than Gamble’s repeated references to the Membership Interest Purchase Agreement but his utter failure to disclose to the Court that such agreement contained Gamble’s broad and sweeping release of claims against CLP and Tyson."

Separately, DeGrasse Tyson also argues the copyright infringement cause of action should be tossed because Gamble licensed the photo at issue to CLP. (Read the full filing below.)

"The undisputed facts demonstrate Gamble’s intent that the license not be limited in duration," writes Moken. "Gamble provided the Tyson Photo to CLP without expressing any limitation on the duration of its use, and CLP openly used the Tyson Photo for years before Gamble sold his interest in CLP, without objection by Gamble. ... After Gamble sold his interest in CLP, CLP continued to openly use the Tyson Photo for more than three years without objection by Gamble."

Gamble this week voluntarily dismissed without prejudice his claims against W.W. Norton & Company and Jodi Solomon Speaker’s Bureau, which were added as defendants in the amended complaint.