David Letterman And Joaquin Phoenix Discuss Fair Use As Letterman Threatens To Sue

from the all-on-live-TV dept

You probably recall the infamous Joaquin Phoenix appearance on David Leterman from last year, where Phoenix acted somewhat crazy:
As many people suspected at the time, it was all a hoax. It was known at the time that Phoenix and Casey Affleck were working on a "documentary" about Phoenix, and now that the movie came out to pretty dreadful reviews and even more dismal box office results, Affleck has finally come out and admitted the whole thing was a hoax, in what's likely an attempt to garner some new press attention for the clear flop, which Affleck claims is close to bankrupting him. Of course, they may have to take some of that $259,290 the movie has supposedly earned and hand it over to David Letterman.

You see, earlier this week, Letterman had Phoenix back on to discuss the hoax, and where things got interesting was where Letterman began discussing fair use and publicity rights and demanded money from Phoenix. Letterman points out that Affleck's lawyers had initially said that they could use Letterman in their movie because, as a documentary, it was "fair use." But... since it's no longer a documentary, Letterman suggested his normal fees should apply. While it was all done in a joking fashion, as THResq notes in the link above, the fact that Letterman actually quotes "fair use," and such suggests that perhaps he really has been discussing this with the lawyers.
Letterman: OK, so now I want some money...Nobody ever asked us if Dave was going to be in film. You have to license this out. Give us the license fee. And that was the last we heard. Then we went to the lawyers and the lawyers said, "Yeah, you can. If you want, you can probably sue these people." Then your attorney said, "No, it's fair use because it's a documentary." Well hoo ha, guess what? It's no documentary. It was a theatrical ruse, right?

Phoenix: OK, yes. So you are going to sue us?

Letterman: And so I'm in it. And as you mentioned here, at a pivotal moment of the film, where "Oh my god what has happened and Letterman crushes me. Oh, my life is over, my career. What have I done? What have I done??" Now you owe me a million bucks.

Phoenix (mumbles): A million bucks.

Letterman: All the promotion you got from being on here that night in your Dr. Drew 'Oh My God,' all of that is worth something. That's free publicity. So we want something for that. And my talent fee. You know, it's not my first rodeo. I'd like a little taste of this as well. So you and Casey get together with your little buddy and come up with a million. That's all I'm asking.

Phoenix: OK, we'll work it out. But, um, can we talk about it privately?
And the video, which should start at the key point in the discussion:
I doubt there will be any real lawsuit, but it sure would make for an exciting sequel to the movie, huh?

Filed Under: copyright, david letterman, fair use, joaquin phoenix

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    zach brown, 26 Jul 2011 @ 4:18pm


    it would be dumb to think letterman would actually sue. he gets 32 or 23 million a year so he is not going actually sue cause i mean this movie made jack. its gonna be a cult classic or something but dave is not going sue. if he was going to sue he would not even invite him to go on the show. i think this was one movie where dave actually wanted people to go watch the movie. he might come out as a smart ass but dave is a generous and kind guy and he is a comedian after all so he knows when to laugh at himself as well

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.