The Fox News contributor and former Alaska Governor says a copyright infringement lawsuit against her for use of an iconic photo of the Stars and Stripes being raised at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 should be tossed out. “A New Jersey newspaper has chosen New York as the forum to sue defendants located in distant states, based on conduct with no particular connection to this District besides the subject matter of the photograph—a consideration that is irrelevant for purposes of venue,” said lawyers for Sarah Palin in a filing in District Court in NYC Thursday (read it here). “Defendants therefore seek dismissal…on the ground of improper venue or, in the alternative, for transfer of this action to an appropriate forum,” the motion memo adds.
North Jersey Media Group initially sued the former GOP VP nominee and her political action committee SarahPAC over three months ago for putting up an edited version of the photograph with the words “We will never forget” on her Facebook page and the PAC’s web site without permission. The 24-page also bluntly notes that “plaintiff’s copyright claim is groundless because the alleged use of plaintiff’s photograph in reduced, cropped form to provide visual and historical context to a Facebook post memorializing the September 11th attacks is not copyright infringement.” Palin’s lawyers say that because the well known photo was used in such a manner as well as cropped and altered, it is “fair use.” They also note that it was not intended to solicit donations for the PAC in any way.
The Garden State group’s flagship newspaper The Record holds the rights to the photo taken by staff snapper Tom Franklin of a trio of firefighters putting up the flag amidst the ruins of the WTC that tragic day. Palin and her PAC used the pic, which came down less than two days later, to commemorate this year’s anniversary of the 2001 attack. In its September 14 suit, North Jersey Media Group claimed that Palin’s use of the pic had “irreparably damaged” its company. NJMG also sought to have the pic taken down and to collect unspecified damages. With this week’s filing by Palin, the two sides are either going to come to a quick settlement, as is often the case in these instances, or drag this out in one courtroom or another. Palin is represented by Ronald Coleman of NYC firm Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP and John Tiemessen of Fairbanks’ Clapp Peterson Tiemessen Thorsness
Zoraida Sambolin signed off CNN’s Early Start this morning; she’s returning to Chicago, where she worked before joining CNN in 2011 from the Windy City’s NBC O&O. Sambolin, who battled breast cancer this year, announced this month she’s returning to Chicago to be near family.
“I’m going to miss CNN,” she said after thanking her co-anchor John Berman. “This is a great place led by an incredible man, who has just been remarkable to me – Jeff Zucker – which I have to mention, cause when I got diagnosed with cancer, I want everybody to know, this man walked into my office and basically came with a silver platter and said, ‘However I can help you, whatever I can do, I will’.”
Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug generated $8.8 million from midnight screenings. The studio is calling it “the second biggest midnight numbers ever in December.” Last year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey brought in about $13 million in a similar number of theaters at midnight.
Now, this reminds me of something I haven’t thought about in a long, long time but could use a mention: The studios are always looking for SOMEthing to tout … SOME way to use the box office to tout its numbers. When this first started years ago, we used to roll our eyes as we’d be told things like, “It’s the second biggest five-day opening for a May.” Everything can be spun, right? Such as, “the second biggest midnight in the South during an election year” or “it’s the highest box office three-day during a leap year.”
Though Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’s midnight numbers are not ones for the record books, the fact is it is still on track for a big opening this weekend (estimates are around $80 million today) in a crowded marketplace that is very different environment from last year, when theaters had Lincoln and the ending run of Twilight pulling in small numbers. This weekend Hobbit has two very strong contenders in the marketplace for box office dollars with the family film Frozen and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. “We had a fan base that was drooling to see the film,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “We’re off to a great start, the early matinees are great. I think the number of 3D screens (the increase) will help the upcharge of the film.” Of the pic’s $8.8 million midnight run, $1.2 million came from IMAX theaters.
On its opening day overseas Wednesday in select international territories, Smaug brought in $8.5 million for a gross that ended up 3% higher than last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Corddry is set to co-star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Ballers, HBO’s half-hour dramedy pilot, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based active and retired athletes. Corddry will play former all-pro running back Spencer’s (Johnson) boss, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in and who is confident but clueless at interpreting social cues. Peter Berg is directing the pilot, which Johnson is exec producing with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson, and Evan Reilly serves as showrunner. The deal for Ballers will allow Corddry to continue on Childrens Hospital, the Emmy-winning show he created, exec produces and stars in. The actor, repped by WME, Principato-Young and Ken Richman, just wrapped the Sony feature Sex Tape and plays the one of the leads in MGM’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2.