Some of the most common and complicated business litigation cases come from intellectual property disputes. They do not necessarily include arguments within the film and entertainment industry; these disputes can happen in Ohio as well as Hollywood. While music copyright disputes have historically been the center for most lawsuits, the contemporary trend often involves movies and documentaries. This is exactly what is happening in the case of Will Smith and his new project depicting the life of Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.
The claim is that Richard Williams wrote an autobiography in 2014 and also sold the rights to publish film productions associated with the book to TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multimedia. Williams has subsequently also agreed to being the subject of the upcoming film “King Richard” to be played by Will Smith with wife Jada Pinkett Smith as one of the executive producers for the Warner Brothers production. Although the scope of the project differs from the book, much of the material planned for the film could include information from the book and be the subject of business litigation filings.
TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multimedia claim that this constitutes a copyright infringement based on their publication rights purchase fee paid around the time the book, “Black and White: The Way I See It,” was published. The compilation chronicled the life of Richard Williams raising his daughters in the southern United States. While there may well be similar information included in both works, the extent of control that the plaintiffs have over publications involving Richard Williams could be called into question. The plaintiffs claim that the $1 million purportedly paid to Williams for publication rights to the King Richard film is their property.
This legal filing is a prime example of why it may be beneficial to have a detail-driven business litigation attorney representing any dispute involving technicalities and information verification. The timeline of events and the original contract wording might have a major impact on the outcome of this case and many others like it when contract law and intellectual property ownership are at stake.