Hollywood celebrities, production companies and movie producers have been sued thousands of times over the years. Sometimes everyday citizens will sue big movie production companies for plagiarism or intellectual property infringement. This often happens when a movie becomes super successful: It seems plenty of chancers come out of the woodwork with their own claims to valuable intellectual property.
More often than not, these lawsuits are strange and even absurd. A New Jersey woman is currently suing Walt Disney for allegedly ripping off her life story. Isabella Tanikumi claims that the movie Frozen is based on two of her books which document her life growing up in the Andes. Many people think her lawsuit is a cash grab, and they claim her books bear no resemblance to the movie Frozen at all. Tanikumi cites similarities between Frozen and her memoirs such as living in a town at the foot of snow covered mountains, and sisters being brought together by a horrific accident. Another bizarre case involves a woman claiming to be the surrogate of Beyonce. She’s suing for custody of Blue Ivy – Jay Z and Beyonce’s daughter. Tina Seals claims Beyonce used her as a surrogate, but Seals has a history of suing other celebrities including Kate Middleton and Mariah Carey. It seems almost anybody can claim foul and sue Hollywood, but there’s only a very slim chance they’ll ever do so successfully.
Hollywood, on the other hand, has no problem flexing its legal muscles. Movie studios have gone after the little guy for movie piracy, Hollywood producers have filed countersuits and Hollywood has even sued big corporations, too. Here’s a look at five instances where Hollywood launched lawsuits of its own.
5. Hollywood launches lawsuit against Google for not removing images fast enough
Following the release of hundreds of images of naked celebrities from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton by notorious hackers in an event dubbed ‘the Fappening,’ some celebs decided to launch a lawsuit. However, this lawsuit wasn’t against the hackers who leaked the photos. Instead, Hollywood sued Google for not taking the photos off Google images fast enough. Celebrity lawyer Marty Singer sent a letter to Google on behalf of numerous “actresses, models, and athletes whose confidential, personal, private photos and videos” were leaked. The letter demands all images be removed or Google will face a $100 million lawsuit. Singer has not disclosed which ‘Fappening’ victims he is representing, and Google responded by saying it “deleted tens of thousands of images within hours of the request being made,” during an interview with CNN.
4. Canadian man sued for streaming episodes of The Simpsons
A Canadian man was sued by Fox after he set up websites that streamed episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy. The case went to federal court in Canada and the man was forced to pay Fox a staggering sum – $10.5 million in damages. After losing the case he ended up going bankrupt. The man said he did make a small amount of profit from illegally streaming the content, but it was not enough to make a decent living. He was forced to sell his house in an effort to try and pay what was owed to Fox. The fine could have been ever higher – the maximum for his offence would have been $14 million.
3. Michael Egan is sued for malicious prosecution
Earlier this year the media was in a frenzy after former model Michael Egan alleged he was sexually assaulted by Bryan Singer and a number of other high profile Hollywood executives and producers. The lawsuits Egan filed were dropped, but Garth Ancier, one of the men Egan accused of sexual assault, has since filed a lawsuit against Egan for malicious prosecution.
2. Lionsgate sues those involved with Expendables film leak
Expendables 3 was a box office bomb of epic proportions, and the fact that the film was leaked online before it even hit theatres may have had something to do with the poor box office performance of the film. Lionsgate, the studio responsible for making Expendables 3, filed a huge lawsuit in the state of California which goes after everyone from the person who leaked the film to those who downloaded it to the owners of the torrent sites from which the film was downloaded.
1. Producers of Dallas Buyers Club and The Hurt Locker sue torrent sharers
Another high profile case involving piracy of a Hollywood film happened last year when Voltage Pictures launched a lawsuit against 31 individuals who allegedly shared a copy of the Oscar nominated film Dallas Buyers Club. This wasn’t the first time that Voltage launched this type of lawsuit. It did that same thing after another film it produced, The Hurt Locker, started making its way around torrent sites while it was still playing in theatres.