Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Unknown Movie Rights More Expensive Than Jessica Simpson For Dukes Of Hazzard

from the somebody-fetch-uncle-jesse dept

It seems like those entertainment industry lawyers who are so focused on not letting any of those college kids "steal" anything forgot to check who actually owned the rights to the Dukes of Hazzard concept in a movie. Rick Klau points out that the original TV show was actually based on a movie very few people have heard of called Moonrunners. However, when it was licensed to become the TV show, the producers of Moonrunners kept the movie rights. In fact, it was Warner Brothers who had the rights for the TV show, but forgot they didn't have the rights for the movie. It was only well into the marketing of the film that Warner Brothers was informed by the original movies' rights holders that they were infringing. A judge even barred them from promoting or releasing the movie -- a process they had already started. All that meant that Warner Brothers had to cough up $17.5 million at the very last minute in order to keep the movie on schedule. Yes, that's $17.5 million for the rights to a movie that most people don't even know exists. Yet, somehow, it seems unlikely that Warner Brothers will use this lesson to realize that intellectual property laws sometimes go overboard.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    eeyore, Aug 11th, 2005 @ 5:57am

    No Subject Given

    Apparently you didn't have drive-in movie theaters where you grew up. "Moonrunners" was a prptotypical drive-in flick: lots of action with a little humor mixed in with no plot to get in the way. "Uncle Jesse" and "Roscoe P. Coltrane" and even "Cooter" came straight out of the movie. The late Kiel Martin and Robert Mitchum's son played the cousins. Their stock car was named "Traveller" after General Lee's horse and while I'd hardly call it a documentary it was a damn sight more realistic in capturing the rural south than the "Dukes" (which was rather obviously filmed in California)ever did. The highlight of the movie is when after being humiliated in a roadhouse bar, Billy Joe Hagg (Martin) rams his car into the building and leans out and says "hey, y'all got any curb service?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    malhombre, Aug 11th, 2005 @ 8:11am

    No Subject Given

    WB coughs up 17.5 M in order to satisfy copyright laws - wow, even the big guys have to play by the rules. Somehow, I don't see the logic twist that will suddently make WB friendly to copyright fact, having been burned themselves (expensively at that), I would think that would make legitimate copyright holders (like WB) even more determined to protect their own pays handsomely and applies to everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2005 @ 9:07am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Heh. The point is they *didn't* play by the rules. If they had, they would have paid a lot less than $17.5 million.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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