Professor Eric E. Johnson - Entertainment Law
Entertainment Law - 2008 - University of North Dakota School of Law


Johnson’s Entertainment Law Compendium for 2008:





Cease and Desist Letters:


Brennan "Judge Judy" Litigation:

FCC Consumer Fact Sheets:

Copyright Overview:

Trademark Overview:

Johnson’s Entertainment Law Audio Supplement for 2008:

"Candy Girl" - New Edition
"Do Me!" - Bell Biv DeVoe
"Hangin' Tough" - New Kids on the Block
"Barbie Girl" - Aqua
"Oh Pretty Woman" - Roy Orbison
"Pretty Woman" - 2 Live Crew
"Pass the Mic" - Beastie Boys
"Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie" - Final
"Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie" - Stray Cats
"Seven Words You Can't Say On Television" - George Carlin
"Suicide Solution" - Ozzy Osbourne
"He's So Fine" - The Chiffons
"My Sweet Lord" - George Harrison

The Wypadki:

Website Links of Interest:

Old Exams:

Special materials available in advance of the exam:


[Posted 3/10/08] The up-to-date version of 15 U.S.C. 1125(c) (Lanham Act 43(c) can be found here: (H.R. 683 - Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 [PDF]).
[Posted 2/11/08] The Litwak text is now on reserve in the library. The Simensky text is on reserve as well.
[Posted 2/11/08] To memorialize what I announced in class some time ago, there will be no labor law quiz.
[Posted 2/11/08] Also to recap what I have said in class, "Coming to America" will not be required (nor recommended) viewing.
[Posted 2/1/08] I am revising the table of readings. The next unit of reading assignments is Unit 5. Note that Unit 5 has changed from the original table. The readings beyond Unit 5 will be revised as well. Among other adjustments, I will be redistributing the reading so there is less per unit.

Table of Readings:





Contracts, Part 1: The Hollywood Climate


Read Litwak, Chapter 1 “Introduction,” pp. 1‑9; Chapter 10, “Negotiating Tactics & Strategies,” pp. 251-256,

Read Simensky:

Donahue v. Artisan (“Blair Witch”), 144-149

Main Line Pictures v. Basinger, 152-160



Liability for Audience Actions

Read Simensky:

McCollum v. CBS, 1406-1418

Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Suicide Solution” Ozzy Osbourne

Read Compendium:

Weirum v. RKO General (“Don Steele”)



Labor, Guilds, and Pitfalls for Talent

Read Litwak, Chapter 5, “Literary Acquisition Agreements,” pp. 59-92; Chapter 6, “Employment Contracts,” pp. 93-151; and Chapter 7 “Advice for Writers, Directors & Actors” pp. 161-196.  Merely skim the contracts in these chapters.

Read Simensky:

Muller v. Walt Disney Productions, 314-318

“Union Soldiers …” 105-110

Marino v. WGA, 1045-1052



Agents, Managers, Attorneys, and Employment Regulation

Read Litwak, Chapter 18 “Retaining Attorneys, Agents and Managers” pp. 347-372. 

Read Compendium:

Sheryl Crow / Dressing Room Requirements Rider

Kid Nation / Participant Agreement

Read Simensky:

“Agents, Managers, and Lawyers …” 48-56

[A] and [1] explanatory text, 56

Park v. Deftones, 56-60

Styne v. Stevens, 61-73

74-75 (only nn. 1, 2, 3, & 4)

[3] explanatory text, 80

87 (only n. 1)

[B] explanatory text, 87-88

91 (only nn. 3 & 4)

[C] explanatory text, 92

Day v. Rosenthal, 92-99

“Conflict of Interest in Ent.” 99-104



Protections for Persons as Subjects, Part 1: Defamation

Read Simensky:

Bindrim v. Mitchell, 345–360

Clark v. ABC, 361-371

371-375 (only nn. 2, 3, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16)

"New Dispute is Stirred by Doubleday – Davis Suit," 313–314

Read Compendium:

North Dakota Century Code §§ 14-02-01, 14-02-02, 14-02-03, 14-02-04, 14-02-05, 14-02-09, 14-02-10.

California Civil Code § 48.5.

Read Litwak, Chapter 14 “Defamation of Persons Depicted in Literary Works,” pp. 307-316. 



Protections for Persons as Subjects, Part 2: Right of Publicity

Read Simensky:

Dora v. Frontline, 435–438

438–439 (only n. 1)

449-450 (nn. 1-8)

Polydoros v. 20th Century Fox, 451–456

White v. Samsung, 456–465

465 (only nn 2–3)

Read Litwak, Chapter 13 “The First Amendment and the Right to Publicity” 



Protections for Persons as Subjects, Part 3: Privacy Torts and Life Story Rights

Read Compendium:

Shulman v. Group W. Prods.

Read Simensky:

416–419 (nn. 1-12)

432-435 (only nn. 2-8)

"Lawyer's Role ... Life Story,"336–342

Read Litwak, Chapter 3 “Permission to Portray People and Places” 



Protections for Persons as Subjects, Part 4: Applications

Read “In Advertising, Governor Accepts No Imitations,” Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2004, p. A1[3]

Read Compendium:

Lindsay Lohan & Dina Lohan / Defamation Claim Letter

One America Productions / "Borat" Release

Catherine Zeta Jones / Atkins Diet Letter

Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas / Clear Channel Letter

Jennifer Aniston / Invasion of Privacy Letter



Contracts, Part 2: When the Contract Comes to Court

·          Litigating entertainment contracts

·          Contract torts

·          Interpretation

·          “Creative accounting”

Read Compendium:

April Enterprises, Inc. v. KTTV 

Read Litwak, Chapter 11, “Creative Accounting,” pp. 257-268.

Read Simensky:

Buchwald v. Paramount Pictures, 1203-1215

Read Compendium:

Brennan v. Big Ticket, First Amended Complaint

Brennan v. Big Ticket, Summary Judgment Order for Big Ticket

Brennan v. Big Ticket, Summary Judgment Order for Viacom


TRADEMARK QUIZ: Read Compendium: Trademark Overview - U.S. Trademark Law (Wikibooks 2008)


Trademark, Part 1

Read Chapter 4 “Clearance of Rights,” pp. 49-58, and Chapter 16 “Trademarks and Unfair Competition” pp. 327-332.

Read Simensky:

In Re Elvis Presley Enterprises, 828-830

831 (nn. 1& 2)

845 (n.)

864-865 (only nn. 1 & 2)

868 (only n. 1), 

Morgan Creek v. Capital Cities / ABC, 874-878



Trademark, Part 2


Read Simensky:

Bell, Bivens, Brown, DaVoe  & Tresvant v. Streetwise Records, 1074-1079

976 (nn. 1 & 2)

New Kids  v. News America, 983-990

990 (n.)

Mattel v. MCA Records, 990-1000

Recommended: Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Barbie Girl” Aqua

Optional: Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Candy Girl” New Edition

“Do Me!” Bel Biv DeVoe

“Hangin' Tough” New Kids on the Block


COPYRIGHT QUIZ: Read Compendium: Copyright Overview - U.S. Copyright Law (Wikibooks 2007)


Copyright, Part 1


Read Litwak, Chapter 12 “Copyright,” pp. 269-300.

Read Simensky:

Maljack Productions v. UAV, 533-538

539-542 (all notes)

Lone Wolf McQuade v. CBS, 542-547

MGM v. American Honda Motor, 547-553

553-554 (all notes and text)

567-569 (only nn. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

607 (only n. 6)



Copyright, Part 2


Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“He’s So Fine” The Chiffons

“My Sweet Lord” George Harrison

“Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie” Final

“Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie” Stray Cats

Read Simensky:

Motola v. EMI, 610-612

Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs, 661-664



Copyright, Part 3

Read Simensky:

Beal v. Paramount 665–675

675–676 (nn 1–4)

Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, 713-727

Optional: Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Oh, Pretty Woman” Roy Orbison

“Pretty Woman” 2 Live Crew (Note: Contains offensive content.)

Optional (neither required nor recommended): “Coming to America” (Paramount Pictures, 1988) Note: Rated R, contains nudity, profanity, and offensive content. (On reserve in library.)



Copyright, Part 4

Read Compendium:

Newton v. Diamond

Morill v. Smashing Pumpkins

Read Simensky:

581-583, 642-643

Fred Alhert Music v. Warner/Chappell Music, 649-657

658-661 (only nn. 2-4)

Optional: Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Pass the Mic” Beastie Boys



Broadcast Regulation, Obscenity, Telecom Regulation, Antitrust

Read Simensky:

Luke Records v. Navarro, 1352-1356

1356-1358 (n.)

FCC v. Pacifica, 1374-1388

Optional: Listen to the Audio Supplement:

“Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television” George Carlin (Note: Contains offensive content and abundant profanity.)

Read 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c) and 47 U.S.C. §§ 317, 508.[4] 

Read FCC consumer facts sheets:[5]

Station Identification and Call Signs

Obscene, Profane & Indecent Broadcasts

Broadcasting Contests, Lotteries, and Solicitation of Funds

The FCC's Payola Rules

Broadcasting False Information

Closed Captioning

Children's Educational Television

Interception and Divulgence of Radio Communications



Protections for Inchoate Entertainment

·          Theft of ideas

·          Breach of confidence

·          Development deals

·          Submissions

Read Litwak, Chapter 2, “Dealmaking,” pp. 11-28. 

Read Simensky:

Buchwald v. Paramount Pictures, 751-758

Desny v. Wilder, 758-768

Farris v. Enberg, 790-793



Read Simensky:

Land v. Jerry Lewis Productions, 794-796

796 (only n.)

Read Compendium:

Grosso v. Miramax Film Corp.



Contracts, Part 3: “I’ve Changed My Mind”

·          Limitations on duration

·          Bankruptcy

·          Distribution and acquisition agreements

Read Litwak, Chapter 9, “The Acquisition/Distribution Agreement,” pp. 215-222.  Omit the agreement on pp. 222-250.

Read Simensky:

De Haviland v. Warner Bros., 243-250

Radioactive Records v. Manson, 250-257

257-258 (only n. 6)



Read Simensky:

“Bankruptcy and Personal …” 276-283

283-284 (only nn. 1 & 2)

(NOTE: This unit 18-B was not assigned this semester.)



Read Compendium:

American Idol Re-negotiation / Fox Broadcasting Company, FremantleMedia North America, Inc., 19 TV Limited
Prepare two well-thought-out comments regarding this document to contribute to class discussion.




Read Litwak Chapter 17, “Remedies,” pp. 333-346.

(NOTE: This unit 19 was not assigned this semester.)



Case Studies in Transactional Practice: Reality Television

Read Compendium:

James Adam Blair Boon -w- Queer Eye LLC / Talent Agreement
Prepare two well-thought-out comments regarding this document to contribute to class discussion.

Trista Rehn -w- Syndicated Productions, Inc. / Bachelorette Agreement
Prepare two well-thought-out comments regarding this document to contribute to class discussion.



Legitimate Theatre

Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195 (2d Cir. 1998) [please retreive this case from an online source]



Recording Contracts

The Problem With Music by Steve Albini [LINK] (Warning: contains profanity and offensive content.)

Read Compendium:

American Idol / Contestant Agreement (partial)



Nano Media

No readings - group presentations



[1] “Flexible” means that although the reading is required, it is not necessary to do it prior to the class meeting indicated.

[2] The U.S. Code is available in a convenient form at

[3] You may retrieve this using Lexis/Nexis.

[4] The U.S. Code is available in a convenient form at

[5] Links to these fact sheets are available on the class website, accessible from

[6] The U.S. Code is available in a convenient form at