3 Count: Buck Dodgers

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1: ‘Buck Rogers’: Skydance Developing Competing Movie Based on Pulp Hero

First off today, Borys Kit at The Hollywood Reporter writes that the film studio Legendary is starting a multi-medium project focusing on the character Buck Rogers. However, they face a unique copyright challenge, the claimed rightsholder, the estate of Philip Francis Nowlan, has already offered the rights to Skydance.

At issue is a 1929 Nowlan novella Armageddon 2419 A.D. The book, which was published in 1929, lapsed into the public domain after its copyright was not renewed in the 1950s. That novella features the character Anthony Rogers, which would later become known as Buck Rogers. However, according to the Nowlan estate, that original novella did not feature Buck Rogers and Anthony Rogers is a different character.

As such, they licensed the trademarks and copyrights to Skydance and have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Legendary regarding their adaptation. However, Legendary seems to be moving forward with its version, setting the stage for a legal battle down the line.

2: IPTV Provider Omniverse Wins $50m To Pay Hollywood’s $50m Piracy Damages

Next up today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that IPTV provider Omniverse has won a key decision against a content provider, one that perfectly pays off its previous settlement to rightsholders.

Last year, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) sued Omniverse for alleged copyright infringement, saying it didn’t have the rights to stream the content that it was providing customers. However, Omniverse insisted it had acquired the needed rights though, after the validity of those agreements was called into question, they eventually agreed to settle the case and pay $50 million in damages.

Omniverse then turned around and sued Hovast, the company Omniverse claims provided it the licenses to DirecTV content. However, Hovast has failed to defend itself in the case, resulting in the judge issuing a $50 million judgment against them for breach of contract, negligent and fraudulent microrotations and breach of warranty. Whether Omniverse will be able to collect that $50 million is a separate question.

3: ‘Call of Duty’ Publishers Sued Again for Copyright Infringement

Finally today, a press release claims that photographer and artist Clayton Haugen has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard Inc. and Major League Gaming Corp., claiming that the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a character that infringes a previous work of his.

According to the lawsuit, Haugen created the character Cade Janus in 2017 as part of concept art and story treatment he produced for serval movie companies. He claims that developers then used his images and ideas to create the Mara character in the Call of Duty games.

According to Haugen, in addition to shopping his treatment to various production companies, he posted images and details about the character on his blog and feels that the similarities between the two characters clearly points to infringement.

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