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Entries in Warner Bros. (12)

Saturday
May042013

Warner Brothers Hit with Copyright Infringement Suit

Photo by Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Copyright holders of some popular online cat images claim media giant Warner Brothers swiped their cat images then refused entreaties to pay for them.

Warner Brothers has been slapped with a copyright infringement suit for their “unauthorized use” of two popular YouTube cat characters.

The suit is “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” vs. Warner Brothers and 5th Cell Media, the makers of WB’s Scribblenauts puzzle action video game series. The claim is that the games released for Nintendo and PC platforms have, without consent, featured the likeness of Orlando Torres’ “Nyan Cat,” a flying cartoon cat with a Pop-Tart body and rainbow trail, and Charles Schmidt’s “Keyboard Cat” video, which shows his cat, Patso, propped up on a keyboard made to look like he’s playing a song.

“When Chris Torres, the creator of the Nyan Cat meme, found out that Warner Bros. put his character in its newest Scribblenauts game, Scribblenauts Unlimited, without his permission, he says he tried to negotiate with the entertainment conglomerate.

“Warner Bros. called him a nuisance,” Stephen D. Rothschild, attorney for Torres and Schmidt, told ABC News. ”Warner Bros. did the same thing with Charles Schmidt’s creation, the Keyboard Cat meme—put the character in Scribblenauts Unlimited and earlier Scribblenauts games without permission.”

Professor Shyam Balganesh with the University of Pennsylvania Law School told ABC News that he sees this suit as an interesting case of role reversals.

“When the public thinks of copyright today, it’s often big corporations as plaintiffs going after individual copiers and users,” said Balganesh. “This is an instance of that being reversed. Copyright’s excessive litigation costs have been a major deterrent for smaller plaintiffs.

“This is a welcome instance of individual plaintiffs willing to take that chance and go after a big corporation that used their works.”

Balganesh also said that he thinks Torres and Schmidt do have a “good case.”

“Looking at the two designs, I would say that the Nyan Cat clearly implicates both the reproduction right and derivative works right in equal measure,” he said. “The Keyboard Cat, however, was converted from video to cartoon, and likely implicates the derivative works right more than it does the reproduction right. I think the plaintiffs do nonetheless have a good case for the Keyboard Cat as well.”

The attorney for the plaintiffs said that this could have all been avoided had the game makers just gone about using these cat characters in the way other brands and media companies have. Rothschild told ABC News that both “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” have been used with permission to market brands including Vitamin Water, Nike, Old Spice, Sprint, Starburst Candy, and Google.

A spokesperson for Warner Brothers told ABC News that the company has no comment on this legal case.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul262012

Release of "Gangster Squad" Postponed After Colorado Massacre

Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Just days after Warner Bros. said it would be making edits in its upcoming thriller, Gangster Squad, the studio announced it would be pushing back the film's September opening, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre, the studio said it needed time to do a reshoot of scenes that would be considered to be in poor taste in light of the tragedy.

The film is about the Los Angeles Police Department's attempts to take-down the Mafia in the '40s and '50s.  It includes a violent shoot-out that was filmed at Grauman's Chinese Theater.  The scene was briefly featured in a trailer for the movie that the studio quickly pulled immediately after the Colorado shootings. 

Warner Bros. may release the film in January if they can get the reshoots done in time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul212012

Warner Bros. Holds 'Dark Knight Rises' Box Office Numbers 'Out of Respect'

Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. announced it would hold off reporting the film's opening grosses.

"Out of respect for the victims and their families," the studio said in a statement Friday, The Hollywood Reporter reported. "Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for The Dark Knight Rises throughout the weekend. Box office numbers will be released on Monday."

This is an unprecedented move because the practice of releasing box office numbers for an opening weekend is standard for Warner Bros. and most major Hollywood studios.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul202012

Warner Bros., Celebs React to Colorado Movie Theater Shooting

Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) -- A shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Friday has left at least 12 people dead and 50 others injured.  It has also shaken the entertainment industry.

Warner Bros., the studio behind the final film in the Batman trilogy, released a statement saying, “Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident.  We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”

The studio has also canceled the premiere that was set for Friday in Paris, due to the shootings.

Other celebrities have also tweeted their condolences:

Whoopi Goldberg: "Hearts and Prayers to all affected by the craziness in Colorado."

Eva Longoria: "My heart goes out to all the people affected in the Aurora, CO shooting. May God be with that town and their families..."

Billy Ray Cyrus: "Oh no ! Just woke up and turned on the news "14 dead 50 hurt in Batman movie shooting". Praying for victims. So sorry and sad"

Russell Simmons: "praying for the people of Aurora, Colorado."

Lebron James: "So u telling me I can't even feel safe at the movies now!!? SMH. My prayers goes out to all the families involved in Aurora, Colorado."

Paula Deen: "My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and families in Aurora, Colorado this morning."

Ben Savage: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Colorado affected by this terrible tragedy."

James Harden: "SMH. Sick people. My love and prayers go out to all the people involved with Aurora Colorado."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb162012

Warner Bros. Demands Charlie Sheen Stop Using 'Two and a Half Men' Pics

ABC/RICHARD CARTWRIGHT(LOS ANGELES) -- Time has not yet healed the wounds between Charlie Sheen and Warner Bros., the producer of Two and a Half Men.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio's lawyers have sent him a cease-and-desist letter over his recent use of publicity photographs taken during his stint on Two and a Half Men.

Warner Bros. is miffed that at least two such pictures were distributed last month at a National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami, where Sheen promoted his upcoming FX comedy series, Anger Management.  One of the pictures depicts Sheen wearing shorts and a leather jacket while posing on a motorcycle.

Warner Bros. warned Sheen, FX and Anger Management producer Debmar-Mercury in its letter, “That you are using Warner’s intellectual property for a commercial purpose -- namely, to sell another show -- is especially egregious."  The letter demands that they "immediately cease and desist" from using the photographs.

A source close to Anger Management says, "It won't happen again."

After receiving the letter, Sheen couldn't resist the opportunity to take a dig at his old bosses.

He tells TMZ, "I'm thrilled. It insulates me from having to redundantly see myself in the idiotic bowling shirt. Perhaps if Warner Bros. spent as much time and energy focusing on THEIR show, it wouldn't be such a steaming pile of a**."

Last September, Sheen and Warner Bros. settled the $100 million lawsuit he filed after he was fired from Two and a Half Men.

Anger Management premieres in June.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct182011

Man Claims His Honeymoon Inspired 'Hangover II,' Files Lawsuit

Warner Bros.(LOS ANGELES) -- There's a claim that The Hangover Part II took its inspiration from the story of an American who says he wrote a script charting what he calls his Asian adventures, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Michael Rubin is representing himself in a federal suit against Warner Bros.

According to the report, Rubin married a Japanese woman in Japan in 2007 and they honeymooned in Thailand and India where he encountered financial difficulties.  In India, Rubin claims he met a producer in Bollywood who gave him work in several movies.  Rubin says he then wrote a script entitled Mickey and Kirin, and submitted a copy to the Writers Guild of America.

Rubin says he later heard from a Hollywood friend about the movie Hangover II, which features several Americans experiencing mishaps in Asia on the way to a wedding.

Rubin is suing for copyright infringement, misappropriation of his publicity rights, and defamation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Warner Bros. Announces Settlement with Charlie Sheen

Jeff Vespa/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Warner Bros. on Monday formally announced that it has reached a settlement with Charlie Sheen stemming from the lawsuit he filed against the Two and a Half Men studio and series creator Chuck Lorre after he was fired from the hit CBS sitcom.

In a statement released by Warner Bros. and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter and other media outlets, the studio said, “Warner Bros. Television, Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen have resolved their dispute to the parties’ mutual satisfaction.  The pending lawsuit and arbitration will be dismissed as to all parties.  The parties have agreed to maintain confidentiality over the terms of the settlement.”

Reports last week stated that Sheen will receive about $25 million as part of the settlement, though TMZ.com claimed that the actor stands to make tens of millions more in syndication profits.

Sheen filed a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Lorre for wrongful termination last March, not long after he was fired for his erratic behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep202011

Sheen Close to Settlement in 'Two and a Half Men' Legal Dispute?

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Another sign that Charlie Sheen is making peace with his former colleagues with Two and a Half Men: he's closing in on a settlement with producer Warner Bros. and series creator Chuck Lorre that would resolve their legal dispute, according to The Los Angeles Times.  He reportedly will receive about $25 million.

After he was fired from Two and a Half Men in March, Sheen filed a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Lorre for wrongful termination.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. will fork over all of the money that Sheen will receive under the settlement.

Despite the $25 million figure floated by The Los Angeles Times, TMZ.com reports that Sheen will receive tens of millions more in syndication profits over the next decade, giving him a total sum of $100 million.

Sheen was making $1.2 million per episode at the time of his firing.  The Los Angeles Times notes that Sheen had been under contract through the current season.

In TV appearances on The Tonight Show last week and the Emmy Awards on Sunday, a seemingly apologetic Sheen wished the Two and a Half Men cast and crew all the best going forward.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun162011

Charlie Sheen Not 'Winning' After Judge's Lawsuit Decision

Jeff Vespa/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge handed Warner Bros. TV and Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre a legal victory against Charlie Sheen on Wednesday.

Sheen and his lawyer Marty Singer had filed a $100 million lawsuit against WB and Lorre, claiming they had no legal grounds to fire the actor from the hit show, despite his erratic off-screen behavior which morphed into a very public flame war against Lorre.

But TMZ reports Judge Alan Goodman said the case must be settled through arbitration, as stipulated in Sheen's contract, and not with the public trial the actor sought.

"We're very gratified by the court's ruling enforcing the parties' arbitration agreement," Warner Bros. said of the decision.

No official public reaction yet from Sheen's camp.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar212011

Winning?! Charlie Sheen Reportedly Offered Job Back

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- After weeks listening to him rant and rave, after he slapped them with a $100 million lawsuit, could CBS and Warner Bros. actually want Charlie Sheen back?

Maybe. On Monday, multiple media outlets reported that the network and the studio have offered Sheen the Two and a Half Men gig they fired him from earlier this month.

According to HollywoodLife.com, Sheen's talks with CBS rival Fox about a possible late-night show prompted CBS to try and win him back. RadarOnline.com reported that CBS president and CEO Les Moonves has been talking with executives at Warner Bros. and series creator Chuck Lorre about finding a way to work with Sheen again.

Representatives for Sheen, CBS and Warner Bros. declined ABC News' requests for comment.

Two and a Half Men went on hiatus in January following Sheen's hospitalization and return to rehab. Sheen publicly slammed Lorre, Warner Bros., and CBS in a series of TV and radio interviews, claiming they prevented him from returning to work.

Minutes after CBS and Warner Bros. fired him on March 7, Sheen released a statement to TMZ.com, calling his dismissal "very good news."

"They continue to be in breach, like so many whales," Sheen said. "It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at [expletive] again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension." Some of the insults in Sheen's statement were presumably meant for Lorre.

Since being cut loose from the sitcom, CBS and Warner Brothers execs have watched Sheen's popularity explode: the actor launched a madcap web series that attracted tens of thousands of viewers, a merchandise line that is doing brisk business selling shirts emblazoned with his image and catchphrases, and Sheen recently set ticket sales records for a series of live performance dates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio