NEW YORK (Reuters) - The production company that owns the rights to the pornographic movie “Deep Throat” filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block distribution of the upcoming movie “Lovelace,” a biography of the adult film’s star.
Arrow Productions Ltd, the owner of the rights to the 1972 film, filed a $10 million copyright lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against the producers of the movie, starring Amanda Seyfried, and its distributor, The Weinstein Company.
“Lovelace” chronicles the formative years of porn star Linda Lovelace (born Linda Boreman), her abusive marriage to Chuck Traynor, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and how she came to work on “Deep Throat.
The lawsuit contends that the production company used more than five minutes of footage from “Deep Throat” without a license or permission.
The title “Lovelace” gets its market appeal entirely from the cultural cachet of the trademarked name Linda Lovelace, Arrow Productions said.
“Defendants use that title without license or permission,” the lawsuit said.
Representative for the defendants, who include Millennium Films Inc and United Entertainment Inc, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Lovelace” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It is set to be released in theaters and available to video on demand customers on Friday.
“Arrow and its partners were surprised to hear about (the film) ‘Lovelace,’ because no one had approached Arrow for a license to use any of Arrow’s intellectual property,” the lawsuit said.
Arrow said it approached production company Millennium Films Inc as early as December 2010.
In a December 2011 letter attached to the lawsuit, a lawyer for Millennium wrote Arrow’s lawyer saying it was his client’s view “Lovelace” did not violate Arrow’s trademarks and copyrights.
The producers had a First Amendment right to use the name and likeness of Lovelace and depict her in connection with the production of “Deep Throat,” wrote Donald Gordon, the lawyer for Millennium.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the distribution and marketing of “Lovelace,” an accounting of all profits and revenues from the film, and damages of at least $10 million.
Linda Lovelace, who later in life became an anti-pornography activist, died in 2002 at age 53 from injuries she received in a car crash.
Reporting by Nate Raymond; Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Stacey Joyce