Law Offices of Mark Litwak & Associates

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William Sadleir  was sentenced to six years in prison for his participation in two fraudulent schemes relating to investments made by a New York-based investment fund (the “Fund”) in indie film distributor Aviron Pictures, LLC and its affiliated entities. Sadleir pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one relating to each of the schemes. Sadleir was the chair and chief executive officer of Aviron and oversaw its operations from in or about 2015 until in…
 An author’s heirs has sued Paramount Pictures Corporation in federal court over the underlying rights to the  hit movie Top Gun: Maverick, which plaintiffs contend is  a  sequel to the original movie. Ehud Yonay wrote the original 1983 article in California magazine titled “Top Guns,” from which the 1986 motion picture “Top Gun” (the “1986 Film”) was based. According to the plaintiffs, the  recently released 2022 motion picture “Top Gun: Maverick” (the “Sequel”) is also…
Recently artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell demanded that  Spotify take down their music from their service.  They objected to Spotify hosting Joe Rogan’s podcast, one of Spotify’s most popular podcasts, because it spread  COVID-19 misinformation. Whether an artist has the right to take down their music is an interesting question.  For sound recordings that are audio-only (meaning no video), Artists or their labels can take down their music from on-demand services like Spotify…
Scarlett Johansson, the star of Black Widow, has sued Disney for releasing the movie  without first giving it an exclusive theatrical release. Her deal provided for substantial bonuses tied to box office  receipts. The film’s theatrical revenue was disappointing perhaps because it was also released on Disney’s new Disney+ platform on  the same day that it premiered in theaters. This may have encouraged fans to sign up for its  new SVOD  service benefiting Disney+. But…
After 14 years of negotiations, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE) was signed into law by President Trump. The legislation was buried in the omnibus bill that includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief and stimulus spending, and another $1.4 trillion to run the government through September. This new law means that those who post copyrighted material without permission can face up to $30,000 in penalties.   The Act essentially creates a small claims process that makes it easier…
California has given the green light to resume production under new health protocols meant to minimize transmission of the Coronavirus. The protocols were agreed to by a task force of studios and union officials who drafted a 22-page White Paper setting forth guidelines. However, shooting is subject to approval by county public health officials at the locations for each shoot.  The changes in production include elimination of buffet-style meals, greater sanitation and disinfection of equipment, and…
I am returning to present my Risky Business Seminar for New York Lawyers for the Arts but this year because of Covid 19 crisis it will be in the form of a webinar. Although for the past 15 years I have been presenting this as an all day seminar, we have broken it up into two parts done over two days as a webinar on Zoom. For all of you who have wanted to attend…
Mark was recently interviewed on the National Public Radio’s program Marketplace about the exhibition of films on Amazon Prime that were selected to be screened at the SXSW festival, before it was cancelled due to COVID-19. While Amazon is to be commended for offering this showcase, participating in such a virtual film festival is a mixed blessing for filmmakers.  For some filmmakers, especially those with short films, it might give them exposure they otherwise would never…
The movie and television industries have been devastated by the COVID-19 virus. Almost all production has been halted, theaters have shuttered and cast and crew have been furloughed or terminated. Delivery of films to networks and streaming outlets have been delayed and, in some instances, productions may never resume.   If a producer was in the middle of a shoot when forced to shut down, it may be impossible to restart, because the cast and crew…