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So Sue Me…

THR Lands Skype Interview with an Increasingly Defiant Kim Dotcom

Last month, Kim Dotcom joined Twitter.

Now, with his New Zealand extradition hearing having been postponed from August until March of 2013, he’s taking a full media swing at his Hollywood accusers. Here’s part of what the defendant had to say tonight via Skype to Hollywood Reporter senior writer Daniel Miller, who recently profiled the Megaupload founder for a THR print issue cover story:

“My home was raided by 72 heavily armed police arriving in helicopters. This was an Osama bin Laden-style operation on an alleged copyright infringer. I guess it’s pure luck that my family wasn’t terminated by a Predator drone…”

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Website Dredges Up Allegations of Some Ugly Tom Cruise-Anthony Pellicano Business

When this particular civil lawsuit was originally leveled in 2009, Tom Cruise’s lawyer Bert Fields called the accusations made by plaintiff Michael Davis Sapir “absolute garbage.”

Nevertheless, in the wake of Katie Holmes’ divorce filing, such a lawsuit is suddenly fair media-game. And so, Celebuzz has today published exclusive snapshots of the original court documents and stacked them alongside a thousand and one Church of Scientology Cruise news items:

“In or about the mid 1990s,” Sapir claimed in the lawsuit, “Cruise visited Pellicano’s office for the purpose of listening to wiretaps.”

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Mediaite’s Dan Abrams Fires Back at THR Report*

Exhibit A is today’s Hollywood Reporter item by Eriq Gardner titled “Fashion Photographer Sues Mediaite Over Photographs of Kate Moss’ Sister.” Exhibit B is a response to that article on Mediate from site owner Dan Abrams.

Under the headline “Getting Sued Sucks, But Dealing with a Shady, Hollywood Reporter ‘Journalist’ is Worse,” Abrams bemoans the fact that Gardner went ahead and published the story in the middle of seeking official comment. An email request came in to Abrams a half-hour before the story went live, but some subsequent, more detailed correspondence took place about a half-hour after publication. Writes Abrams:

The Hollywood Reporter story was riddled with errors because Gardner apparently wanted to get this story up quickly, rather than get the story right. Ah, the sweet revenge on the legal analyst.

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OC Woman, ABC’s 20/20 Sued Over 2011 Segment

OC Weekly reporter R. Scott Moxley has the lowdown on some defamatory accusations leveled at ABC’s 20/20.

In a June 24, 2011 report by Chris Cuomo, Internet dating background-check service provider Kelley Cahill alleged that her former boyfriend David Williams had lied about his marital status during their relationship, profited from the liaison and used Cahill to “prey” on other women. Not so, says Williams:

According to the 11-page complaint [filed in Orange County Superior Court by Beverly Hills attorney Alexander Rufus Isaacs]… Cahill was the freeloader in the relationship and Williams told her that he was separated from his wife, not divorced.

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Vampire Movie Stinker Bleeds Into California Courtroom

The numbers for 2009 R-rated comedy flop Transylmania are truly frightening.

Per a Hollywood, Esq. write-up by Eriq Gardner, the film garnered a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a wide release per-screen average of $262. In the end, $22 million in financing delivered around $100,000 in return revenue, so it’s not surprising there is now a lawsuit:

After a meeting in Toronto, the plaintiffs [Third Eye Capital Corporation, Strative Capital] agreed to a loan agreement of $11,745,000 to finance P&A, plus an optional $2 million increase… Then, allegedly came the requests for more money.

In September 2009, the directing team of David and Scott Hillenbrand asked for an additional $2 million, citing competition from another film (Armored), media buy opportunities and the possibility of “huge” network endorsements… In total, during the final six months of 2009, the plaintiffs say they advanced $21,745,000.

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Ashton Kutcher Gets Punk’d by DMV

THR’s always entertaining Hollywood, Esq. has the skinny on a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Media and production partner Soda and Pop, Inc.

According to the plaintiffs, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles agreed in 2010 to a TruTV reality series concept set across the agency’s 170 Golden State offices. But with a written commitment in place and talk of a possible six-season arc (!), the DMV is alleged to have made a sudden, illegal U-turn.

The sentence in Matthew Belloni’s dispatch that caught FishbowlLA’s eye reads as follows:

We’ve reached out to the DMV for comment.

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TheOatmeal.com Turns Attempted Shakedown Into Charity Fundraiser

Imagine a website uses your copyrighted material without permission or attribution, refuses to remove all your work after you complain, and encourages their users to troll you. You might be tempted to sue, but you wouldn’t expect to get sued, right?

But that’s what FunnyJunk.com did to Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Because Inman wrote a blog post complaining about his copyrighted work being posted on FunnyJunk, the humor website is threatening to sue him for slander. Their lawyer sent a letter demanding $20,000 in damages. Inman, naturally, created a webcomic out of it. A (properly attributed) excerpt:

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Judge to Entourage Plaintiff Johnny Bananas: You Slipped Up

The lawsuit was laughable from the start. MTV The Real World: Key West participant John Devenanzio claimed that an animated-show-within-a-show plotline of HBO’s Entourage, featuring Kevin Dillon’s character Johnny Drama as the voice of monkee Johnny Bananas, caused him emotional distress.

Creative distress, maybe. But as it merited to be, THR Esq. contributor Matthew Belloni Eriq Gardner reports today that a New York judge mercifully threw out this nicked nickname claim last week. Albeit on a technicality:

The episodes in question started airing on Aug. 15, 2010, and Devenanzio didn’t bring the claim until Oct. 3, 2011. The one-year statute of limitations window had closed, and so the judge finds the lawsuit to be less “Johnny Bananas” and more “Johnny Rotten.”

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Original Hawaii Five-O Talent Agent Files Suit Against CBS

From “book ‘em, Danno” to “sue ‘em, Litto.” That is essentially where an original stakeholder in the Hawaii Five-O franchise has progressed, via a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

THR senior editor Eriq Gardner has the details and full PDF complaint. The somewhat delayed timing of talent agent George Litto’s $10 million-plus legal maneuver has a lot to do with the fact that Rose Freeman, the widow of Hawaii Five-O creator Leonard Freeman, passed away in March. This reportedly left Litto as the sole manager of the Freeman estate company at the center of the dispute. Per Gardner:

Litto alleges he was cut out of the [TV series] success and even threatened with litigation if he contacted CBS… Since the series is reportedly a “cash cow” for CBS, he adds had the 1974 deal not been amended, it would have allegedly resulted in “massive profits” of millions of dollars to the company he set up with Rose.

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Humphrey Bogart Estate: Here’s Litigating at You, Burberry

Sometimes, all it takes to cross the legal Hollywood licensing line is a tweet or Facebook post.

After Burberry crowed on social media about the late actor Humphrey Bogart having worn one of its trenchcoats in the final scene of Casablanca, Bogart LLC filed suit Wednesday. The estate of the iconic actor said it never gave permission to Burberry to use a Bogart still in such a manner. From the press release:

“This is such an incredibly disappointing and disrespectful action by Burberry,” said Stephen Bogart, son of the Hollywood legend. “Apparently they believe a shoe company can advertise the fact that Brad Pitt wore its brand while jogging down the street, or a beverage company can claim George Clooney drank its product in one of his movies – all without even asking, much less obtaining, the actors’ permission. Wouldn’t that be a nice, clever way to get Hollywood icons to endorse or advertise products without paying compensation or, more importantly, obtaining permission?”

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