Posts Tagged entertainment

What’s The Verdict: Were Mike Huckabee’s anti-Hollywood phone calls more like a survey or telemarketing? Will he be held liable?

What’s The Verdict: Were Mike Huckabee’s anti-Hollywood phone calls more like a survey or telemarketing? Will he be held liable?

Just earlier today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit that accuses U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee along with others of violating telemarketing laws.  The lower court rejected the case, but after today’s decision, Huckabee and others will again face a class action lawsuit over millions of prerecorded  phone message delivered on behalf of the film Last Ounce of Courage back in 2012.

So, what actually happened that led to the lawsuit?

Huckabee was tapped by the film’s producers including Veritas Entertainment in an attempt to get people to a see a movie about a son of fallen U.S. soldier.  The film was Last Ounce of Courage.  To be more precise, there were about 34 million calls to residential phone lines and cells phone.  Based on the script, Huckabee was promoting the film by pitching it as ‘anti-Hollywood.’ For example, Huckabee would call residents and ask the following:

“Do you agree that traditional American values are under attack in mainstream media and by our government?” As well as, “Would you, like me, Mike Huckabee, like to see Hollywood respect and promote traditional American values?”

Two St. Louis residents, Ron Golan and Dorit Golan, filed a $5 million class action suit on behalf of themselves as well as other claiming that the calls were a violation of the Telephone Communication Protection Act and Missouri’s Do Not Call Law. Turns out that the Golans weren’t actually in their home to hear the message but were left with voicemails on their answering machine.

In May 2014, a federal judge rejected the lawsuit because the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate an injury sufficient enough to give them standing for a law intended to crack down on robocalls.  However, the 8th Circuit judge Diana Murphy has decided to read the law more broadly than the district judge who rejected.  Judge Murphy says that the lower court judge erred in dismissing the claims.

The defendants are arguing that the calls do not fall under the category of telemarketing or advertising, but were more for information gathering with survey questions.  It is now the role of the appeals court to examine and determine the context of the calls to see if the purpose was to promote goods.  Judge Murphy states in her opinion that the messages appeared to be survey-like by asking if recipients had traditional American values, but clearly acknowledges that the producers were most concerned with getting viewers of the film rather than gathering information.

Overall, Judge Murphy recognizes that the Golans are not subject to a unique defense nor did the suffer a unique injury, but what matters for all class members (including Golans) is that the phone calls placed by Huckabee were initiated for the purposes of promoting Last Ounce of Courage.  Additionally, she does not rule on whether or not Huckabee could be “vicariously liable” and is leaving that to the lower district court.

Judge Murphy has reversed the lower court judge’s opinion, meaning the case has been revived and remanded.  The final decision will be left to a lower district court judge.

The case is Golan et al v. Veritas Entertainment LLC et al, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-2484.

What do you think the lower court judge will do this time around? Stay tuned for more updates on What’s The Verdict!

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What’s the Verdict: Marlon Wayan Creates Fifty Shades of Grey Spoof!

What’s the Verdict: Marlon Wayan Creates Fifty Shades of Grey Spoof!

Open Road Production company just bought the rights to Marlon Wayan’s new project, a spoof of the erotic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty shades of black. The company purchased the film rights for a cool $5 million, and plan on a late January of 2016 release date.

This isn’t Wayan’s first deal with the Open Road Production company. He had previously worked with them on his last film titled A Haunted House. Open road also has Michael Tiddes ties to the deal as a the film’s director, Tiddes also directed A Haunted House.

Wayan’s is also expected to make his appearance as Mr. Black alongside long time friend and collaborator Rick Alvarez. If his past work is any indication this film is sure to get some laughs. I love a good spoof and I cannot wait to see this one.

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Whats the Verdict: Is Binge Watching the New Normal? NBC takes the plunge!

Once reserved strictly for online content streaming platforms like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, binge watching seems to have gone mainstream, with big networks beginning to release whole seasons online. The adoption of the binge model by big networks comes precisely at the same time that platforms like Netflix are moving away from it.

Tomorrow NBC will release the the first season of David Duchovny’s new period drama, Aquarius in its entirety online, while at the same time airing one episode a week on TV. In a Hollywood reporter article, NBC Entertainment Chairman, Bob Greenblatt proclaimed this decisions would push new boundaries, while also giving the consumer what they want.

NBC’s jump into the binge party comes at the same time as other’s are begining to question its merit. On May 21, Netflix began airing its new show, Between on a week to week basis. Hulu is also questioning the model and is looking at non binge options for its lineup, and Yahoo’s sixth season of Community is also being released over several weeks.

At the root of this shift is the need to create buzz. Content creators want to be able to build buzz around their shows, that continue over a period of time. The binge model allows for much of this build up. However, once the show is released the hype plummets. Serial releasing of content, on a week by week basis allows for hype to be built throughout a season.

As big networks like NBC move to catch up to online content providers like Netflix, more and more shows will be released on the binge model. The implications of this for the industry could be huge. Networks will have to create more and more content. This means that season story lines will become much longer. This also means that Networks will have to green light more shows. If they no longer have to worry about the physical confines of airtime, networks will be able to produce more shows for online viewers.

The real question is wether or not this is what the consumer wants. Will weekly entertainment transition into becoming fourteen hour obligations to watch an entire season in one weekend? What implications will this have on hiring patterns? What does this trend mean for payouts in the industry?

What do you think the verdict will be?

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What’s The Verdict: Mitre Sports International v. HBO

What’s The Verdict: Mitre Sports International v. HBO

Court is finally in session.  Six years ago (2008), a lawsuit was filed against HBO alleging that a child labor report that aired on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” was a hoax. The report accused Mitre Sports International, a British sporting goods company, of turning a blind eye to the use of underage workers for its production of soccer balls in India. As part of the child labor report, the show featured clips of children stitching Mitra soccer balls. It’s no surprise that Mitre denied charges saying that it would never endorse child labor.   Attorney for Mitre Sports International, argued that the scenes were all staged, describing the report as “concocted” and “flat-out lies.” According to Mitre, it was all a hoax and as a result has tarnished the reputation of the company. With that, the company is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages. But HBO is not giving up without a fight. The premium news channel stands by the report and said that no video footage was fabricated in any way, shape, or form.  In fact, HBO’s lawyer Dane Butswinkas told plaintiff Mitre they should be grateful for how generous their reporting was. Something is clearly off. Why would Mitre Sports International bring the case forward if they were wholly endorsing child labor? They wouldn’t because an investigation would probably prove they were doing so. But then why would HBO air a report that had no basis? This lawsuit comes after Rolling Stone Magazine ran into some serious trouble for inaccurate, unconfirmed reporting and NBC’s Brian Williams discrepancies in story-telling. If HBO is found guilty of fabricating any part of its new report, this will definitely hurt the premium channel’s reputation. The 12-member jury trial has officially started and is expected to last around 4 weeks…stay tuned for any updates on What’s the Verdict!

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Mitra’s All Access Interview with Charles Michael Davis from The CW’s “The Originals”

Mitra sits down one-on-one with Charles Michael Davis, the star of the hit CW show “The Originals”. Charles shares how he got started in acting, fun stories from the set and his thoughts on love.

Follow @MitraEsq on Twitter for entertainment news updates and more great interviews!

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Mitra All Access with Charles Michael Davis

Mitra sits down one-on-one with Charles Michael Davis, the star of the hit CW show “The Originals”. Charles shares how he got started in acting, fun stories from the set and his thoughts on love.

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Courtney Love Triumphs in Twitter Defamation Suit

After eight days of testimony, a California jury decided on Friday that Courtney Love should not be held liable for a tweet directed at her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes. The lawsuit is considered to be a trailblazing case as it is believed to be the first trial in a U.S. courtroom involving allegations of defamation on the Twitter platform. Love retained Holmes in 2009 to handle fraud allegations against the executors of Kurt Cobain’s estate. After the relationship between Love and Holmes deteriorated, the rockstar tweeted about Holmes who in turn sued for defamation claiming the tweet hurt her reputation.

The court found that the attorney was a limited-purpose public figure because of her involvement with a celebrity client and thus Holmes was burdened with demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the statement was made with actual malice. Actual malice, sometimes referred to a Constitutional malice, was defined in the the landmark 1964 lawsuit New York Times Co. v. Sullivan,  as knowledge that the statement was false or reckless disregard for the truth. Love contended that the tweet as intended to be sent as a direct message and when she learned it was tweeted to the public, she quickly deleted the comment. Love further testified that she believed the tweet to be true when she sent it. The jury ultimately concluded that Holmes did not meet her burden of proof in this case. 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/courtney-love-wins-twitter-defamation-673972

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