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This is my personal blog. The blogs posts, discussions and comments herein NO WAY represents the view points of VTIP Entertainment, LLC.

Midnight Rider gets real

ericsmall | July 15, 2014

courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter


THR reports the director and producers of the now defunct Midnight Rider bio pic, has turned themselves in to Wayne County police following charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of camera woman Sarah Jones.


I've written about the tragic death of Sarah Jones as well as the lawsuits that followed.  But on July 3rd a grand jury chose to indite three crew members further sealing the fate of the Greg Alman movie.   From the article:


"Both [Director Randy] Miller and [Producer Jody] Savin have since made bail and were released, a spokesperson for the Wayne County jail tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Executive producer Jay Sedrish was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing.


Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison under Georgia law. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 12 months. Miller and Savin own the production company behind the film, Unclaimed Freight."



The Guilds want in

ericsmall | June 24, 2014

The copyright case surrounding the estate of Jack Kirby vs Marvel is starting to heat up.  As I previously wrote, The Hollywood Reporter  published an article back in May, which outlined a Supreme Court ruling which overturned an Appelate Court decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.  Effectively, it said, MGM could not use the legal doctrine of latches (which basically asserts plaintiffs must file in a timely manner) to prevent a copyright lawsuit by Paula Petrella, the copyright heir to the Scorsese classic.  The high court determined Ms. Petrella is due her day in court.



The Reporter surmised that this ruling...



"...effectively shifts the risk for determining copyright ownership to the studios. Traditionally, rights holders have borne the burden of making a Hobson's choice -- once you became aware of some infringing act, should you sue immediately at substantial legal expense, even if the infringement might be minor and not financially successful? Or should you wait to see whether the infringement was returning enough economic reward to make it worth investing the money in a lawsuit but face a potential defense of laches because you waited too long to sue?"



Is another trial brewing?

ericsmall | June 20, 2014

When the Court Of Appeals handed down its decision in 2008 to give the daughter of Lassie's creator, Eric Knight, the right  to terminate the copyright held by "Classic Media" it  gave hope to intellectual property lawyers who, with some fancy lawyering, could cash in on properties that are now worth billions. All that was needed were for lawyers to convince the heirs of deceeded copyright holders to threatening lawsuits against big media companies when the term of the copyright was about to expire which is typically the life of the author plus 70 years. At the very least a threat of legal action could net millions just to keep a suit out of court.  The next shoe to drop was another decision by the court involving the writer of such classics as "Of Mice and Men" John Steinbeck.  Like the Lassie case, the children of the late author tried to cancel the copyright of these classics from Penguin books.   But in this case, Penguin was aided by the late author's wife Elaine and the suit failed.


The courts are littered with many, many more cases, especially since the Lassie case. The most famous being the heirs of Superman's creators Segal and Shuzter and their years long struggle with Warner Brothers.  While the movie and music industry, has had its successes and failures, it is the comic book industry, dominated by Disney's and Warner Bros' billion dollar Marvel and DC Comics franchises respectivley, that have been ravaged by lawsuits of late.


"...disparaging to Native Americans"

ericsmall | June 18, 2014

Via Huffpost by way of ThinkProgress...


The United States Patent and Trademark Office revoked the trademark belonging to the Washington Redskins.  Because of the offensive meaning of the word "redskin", the ruling states, the mark cannot be retained as "..federal law... prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language".  The USPTO argued the mark should not have been granted in the first place.


An appeal to the decision is likely, but...


The Trial and Appeals Board rescinded the team’s trademark protections in a 1999 ruling that was part of a case filed in 1992. A federal court later overturned the ruling on appeal due to a technicality that the plaintiffs say has been fixed in this most recent case.

The team will almost certainly appeal the case, and it will be able to keep its trademark protection during appeal. Losing the trademark would not force the team to change its name, but it would allow anyone who wanted to use “Redskins” on merchandise or through other means to do so, which could cost the team — and, because of the NFL’s revenue-sharing model, other NFL teams — “every imaginable loss you can think of,” as the team’s lawyers argued in the original case. For that reason, the trademark has long been thought of by opponents of the team’s name as the easiest avenue to changing it.



A note to Cousin Julie...

ericsmall | June 12, 2014

...who probably does not read this blog.  But when she's out there working, she will look back and know I was thinking about her when I saw this video on Vox (which I hope will still be around). 


Vox takes on healthcare and finds a solution in nurse practitioners.  Looking at this chart...


Courtsey of Vox


Son Of Batman -- Wow That Movie Was....

ericsmall | June 12, 2014

I had a chance to briefly watch 'Son of Batman' yesterday.   It is a direct to DVD/Blu Ray video:



Courtsey of Batman-News


It follows an arc in the Batman Comic (the arc is called "Batman and Son") from about 5 or 6 years ago. The comic was written by comics materminds Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert.   The seeds of the story goes even further back to Son of the Demon a stand alone graphic novel by Mike Barr and Jerry Bingham.


Real estate

ericsmall | June 10, 2014

Dr Dre just listed his home valued at $15 million in 2011, for $35 million.  And this, after selling Beats to Apple for 3 billion.  Wow.  Talk about a smart business man.  



Dre Home

Hannibal victorious?

ericsmall | May 28, 2014

"You would deny me my freedom then! You would take that from me....confine me to a prison cell?"

-- Hannibal Lecter


It's taken me a few days to chew over the draw dropping Hannibal finale.  I come away surprised, disappoined and confused as season two comes to a close.


Hannibal Season2



Hugh Dancy

ericsmall | May 21, 2014

For those of us who watch the tv series Hannibal, the Hollywood Reporter treats us to a sponsored interview with the 38 year old start Hugh Dancy.  Playing more a foil then an advisary, Dancy is masterful as Will Graham in the series.  Surprise! Surprise!   He's a Brit.  They are slowly taking over.




Not the happiest place on earth

ericsmall | May 21, 2014

The Hollywood Reporter does it again with another juicy story from its legal department. This one tells the tail of “…conspiracy, mental incompetence and financial misconduct, plus insinuations of kidnapping and incest…”. 


Dubbed the "Walt Disney Family Feud" it's a story about two of Walt Disney’s grand children and the multi million dollar trust they share.   Fortunatley the Reporter supplies this handy dandy chart below to explain all the characters:



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