Category Archives: Business Law

Information about legal issues affecting small businesses, including big business. The latest news, videos, and discussion topics on Legal Issues involving business and money.

Warner Bros. Can’t Dodge Sylvester Stallone’s Fraud Lawsuit

Sylvester Stallone has scored an early and significant ruling in his lawsuit against Warner Bros. over profits from the 1993 science-fiction film Demolition Man. Not only has a Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected the studio’s bid to throw out breach of contract and fraud claims, but the actor is being permitted to bring a potentially big claim that Warners’ accounting practices are likely to deceive the public, including others in Hollywood with profit participation agreements.

Through his loan-out company Rogue Marble, Stallone filed his lawsuit in April.

“The motion picture studios are notoriously greedy,” stated the complaint. “This one involves outright and obviously intentional dishonesty perpetrated against an international iconic talent. Here, WB decided it just wasn’t going to account to Rogue Marble on the Film. WB just sat on the money owed to Rogue Marble for years and told itself, without any justification, that Rogue Marble was not owed any profits.”

According to the lawsuit, Warner Bros. initially asserted that nearly $67 million was unrecouped on Demolition Man and therefore nothing was owed to Stallone, who was to get 15 to 20 percent of defined profits on the film. After being challenged, the studio sent Stallone a check for $2.82 million. The actor wasn’t satisfied.

There are many legal actions targeting “Hollywood accounting,” including the must-watch one from Frank Darabont over The Walking Dead. What makes Stallone’s case provocative — besides an A-list actor suing the same studio that distributed 2015’s Creed, which earned Stallone an Oscar nomination — is a claim of unfair business practices.

Full Read – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/warner-bros-cant-dodge-sylvester-stallones-fraud-lawsuit-1026520

Judge Rules MGM Must Face Lawsuit Over James Bond Box Set Missing Two Bond Films

“Will the real ‘James Bond’ please stand up?”

Thus begins the decision by a Washington federal judge who on Thursday found enough puns in the extensive catalogue of James Bond films to move a lawsuit against MGM and and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment forward.

Mary Johnson is suing on behalf of herself and other completistswho insist the distributors of James Bond films were deceptive in marketing a box set purporting to include “all” of the films but missing Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Those two films weren’t MGM films for reasons recounted in our earlier story, but are owned by MGM now.

The defendants, staring at a putative class action claiming a violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act and breaches of express and implied warranty, argued that any reasonable consumer would review the box-sets’ outer packaging and then open the box-sets to review their inner contents and figure out what really was included in the Bond box set.

“At this time, the Court will Live and Let Die,” writes U.S. District Court judge Ricardo Martinez, meaning he thinks some claims should live and others should be shot down by a Walther PPK.

MGM tried to convince the judge that the words “all” and “every,” enjoyed by class action lawyers everywhere, aren’t actionable and that fans of David Niven are out of luck.

Full Read – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/judge-rejects-mgms-bid-toss-lawsuit-james-bond-box-set-missing-two-bond-films-1026846

Disney Accused of Illegally Tracking Children Via Apps in New Lawsuit

A San Francisco mom says her child was illegally tracked while using the Disney Princess Palace Pets app.

Amanda Rushing, on behalf of her child referred to as “L.L.,” is suing The Walt Disney Company, Disney Electronic Content and others in a proposed class action filed Thursday in California federal court.

Rushing claims an advertising-specific software development kit is surreptitiously embedded in the code for the app, and that’s how Disney is collecting personal information and tracking online behavior.

“App developers and their SDK-providing partners can track children’s behavior while they play online games with their mobile devices by obtaining critical pieces of data from the mobile devices, including ‘persistent identifiers,’ typically a unique number linked to a specific mobile device,” writes attorney Michael Sobol in the complaint. “These persistent identifiers allow SDK providers to detect a child’s activity across multiple apps and platforms on the internet, and across different devices, effectively providing a full chronology of the child’s actions across devices and apps. This information is then sold to various third-parties who sell targeted online advertising.”

Full Read – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/disney-accused-illegally-tracking-children-apps-new-lawsuit-1026881

AlphaBay, Hansa Shut, but Drug Dealers Flock to Dark Web DreamMarket

Two of the largest online black-market sites have been shuttered in a law enforcement crackdown, but drug dealers have moved in a hurry to a third “dark net” emporium, where listings of fentanyl and heroin have already spiked, according to analysts.

The newfound popularity of DreamMarket highlights the whack-a-mole challenges of policing drugs sold online even as government officials touted the the death of the other two sites, AlphaBay and Hansa.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department announced Thursday that AlphaBay — described as a major source of fentanyl and heroin that has been linked to overdose deaths — had been seized and closed down.

“This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year — taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The so-called dark net is a part of the Internet that can only be accessed by specialized software or hardware and contains clandestine websites not found through normal search engines.

Alphabay and Hansa advertised drugs, chemicals, counterfeit documents, weapon and computer malware among many other items and services, cloaking users in anonymity. Authorities said AlphaBay alone was responsible for at least a billion dollars worth of commerce, using bitcoin and other crypto-currencies.

AlphaBay’s suspected founder, Alexandre Caze, was arrested earlier this month in Thailand at the request of U.S. officials. A week later he was found dead in his cell.

As soon as authorities shut down AlphaBay, sellers began migrating to other sites, according to Kela Targeted Cyber Intelligence, a Tel Aviv company that specializes in monitoring the dark net.

Full Read  – http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alphabay-hansa-shut-drug-dealers-flock-dark-web-dreammarket-n785001?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

The Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Feud Isn’t Just About ‘Revenge’

by Tasbeeh Herwees

Whether or not you’re attuned to the ongoing dramas of the Kardashian krew, you’ve likely heard by now that Rob Kardashian (brother to Kim; sock entrepreneur) spent much of his Wednesday posting a series of nude photos, presumably sent to him privately, by his ex-fiancée and mother of his child, Blac Chyna (formerly Angela Renee White; model; makeup entrepreneur). Because the social media spree took place after he’d discovered that Chyna had apparently cheated on him, Kardashian’s act has been roundly deemed by celebrity gossip mongers like TMZ as “revenge.”

Indeed, celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom (daughter of famed civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred) confirmed this reading of the events when she announced Friday morning that she’d be representing Chyna in court as she pursues a restraining order against her raging ex. Bloom — who helped actress Mischa Barton get a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend who was threatening to sell her sex tape — told The New York Daily News that what Kardashian did constituted “revenge porn,” stating: “Revenge porn is illegal in CA and it certainly appears to me that Rob has violated this criminal law.”

California passed its revenge porn law in 2013. Today, more than half of U.S. states have similar laws. The very language with which we use to talk about “revenge porn” reveals a lot about how we approach the issue, casting it in terms of personal drama rather than as a violation of personhood. Iowa-based Drake University law professor Shontavia Johnson says the popular phrase is misleading. “Revenge porn is really about privacy, about protecting our personal information and having a right to do that,” she says. “We use the term ‘revenge porn,’ which makes it sound like it’s about the perpetrator, but it’s really about the privacy of the individual victim, and whether or not an unsuspecting victim can in some way stop this picture or video from being placed online.”

Read Full – https://www.good.is/articles/rob-kardashian-blac-chyna-drama-twitter-instagram-revenge-porn