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Author:Mark Litwak

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Latest Posts

Supreme Court to Review “Raging Bull” Case

by Mark Litwak on November 12, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for certiorari and agreed to hear an appeal about a copyright dispute concerning the 1980 Oscar-winning boxing film “Raging Bull.” The case was one of eight cases out of more than 2,000 pending appeals that the …

SEC Proposes Crowdfunding Rules

by Mark Litwak on November 7, 2013

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has finally proposed, for comment, new Regulations for Crowdfunding to implement the requirements of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”), enacted on April 5, 2012. More than one year overdue, the SEC has released a 585-page comprehensive report with its proposed rules …

Trouble from People Portrayed in Your Work, Part II

by Mark Litwak on June 25, 2013

The right of publicity is the right of individuals to control the use of their name and likeness in a commercial setting. You cannot place an image of another person on your brand of pickles without their permission. Celebrities can earn large fees from this right by endorsing products. Some …

The trouble from people portrayed in your work

by Mark Litwak on May 20, 2013

As an entertainment attorney, I am often called upon to assist writers who have gotten themselves into trouble because they do not understand how their work may infringe the rights of others. A writer who learns the fine points of the law through trial and error is receiving …

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Public Domain

by Mark Litwak on March 12, 2013

In a suit filed recently in federal court in Chicago[1], a top Sherlock Holmes scholar alleged that many licensing fees paid to the Arthur Conan Doyle estate have been unnecessary, since the main characters and elements of their story derive from materials in the public domain. The suit was brought …

Hobbit Titles: An Unexpected Journey in Confusion

by Mark Litwak on January 3, 2013

Warner Brothers, New Line, and its affiliates (“Plaintiffs”) recently achieved a rare courtroom victory by obtaining a court order restraining distribution of a film they claimed unfairly competed with one of its titles. The target of their ire was The Global Asylum’s (“Asylum”) film The Age of Hobbits. Asylum was …

Domestic Distribution Part 3: Home Video Formulas

by Mark Litwak on November 12, 2012

There are many formulas for home video deals, but most fall within three patterns. The first deal allows the distributor to retain a percentage of Gross Receipts as a distribution fee, and to recoup certain designated marketing expenses from film revenues, with the remaining balance, if any, paid to the …