Bruce Lee Estate Licensees Allege Unauthorized Distribution of Documentaries by Amazon and Others

Film companies from Australia and New Zealand filed suit in U.S. federal court, Western District of Washington, alleging copyright infringement and violation of the integrity of copyright management information for the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of films about Bruce Lee.

Facts alleged.  The copyrighted films at issue are The Intercepting Fist, owned and distributed by plaintiff Phoenix Films Proprietary, Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, owned and distributed by plaintiff Legacy Productions Limited and Bruce Lee:  Path of the Dragon, owned and distributed by Warrior Within Proprietary Limited.  Each of these films is a unique documentary and contains behind the scenes and rare footage of Bruce Lee.  These films were produced with the cooperation of and licenses from the Estate of Bruce Lee.  Each of these films contains copyright notices in the credits and packaging of authorized products that were disregarded by the defendants.  Each has a U.S. copyright registration.

Plaintiffs Phoenix and Warrior Within are Australian companies.  Plaintiff Legacy is a New Zealand company.

The plaintiffs allege that defendants Amazon.com, Inc., Baker & Taylor, Inc. and Ingram Entertainment Holdings, Inc. sold and distributed copies of the films without authorization.  Defendant Allumination Filmworks LLC allegedly created, manufactured, sold and/or distributed copies of the films without authorization.

Causes of action.  The plaintiffs allege willful copyright infringement by all defendants for all films.  Plaintiffs indicate that the defendants continued to infringe after receiving notification of the infringements from plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Plaintiffs allege that defendant Allumination violated 17 U.S.C. §1202(b) by intentionally removing or altering copyright management information for The Intercepting Fist and Bruce Lee:  Path of the Dragon, knowing or having reasonable grounds to know that such actions would induce, enable, facilitate or conceal copyright infringement.  In particular, plaintiffs allege that Allumination intentionally removed or altered copyright management information by placing names or logos on unauthorized copies of the films it distributed.

Finally, plaintiffs allege that defendant Allumination violated 17 U.S.C. §1202(a) by falsifying copyright management information by placing names and logos on unauthorized copies of The Intercepting Fist and Bruce Lee:  Path of the Dragon

This case is Phoenix Films Proprietary Limited v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 11-1990-JLR, United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle.

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