'Fifty Shades' Publisher Sues Porn Dealers
LOS ANGELES (CN) - The owner of the "Fifty Shades" copyrights sued three California pornography companies, claiming they are making unauthorized films and sex toys based on the blockbuster trilogy.
Fifty Shades Ltd. and Universal City Studios, which owns movie rights to the books, sued Smash Pictures, two other alleged porno filmmakers, and three men who own or work for them.
Named as defendants are Smash Pictures, of Chatsworth; its owner Daniel Quinn, of Colchester, Conn.; Luv Moves; Right Ascension Inc. dba Adult DVD Empire; Stuart Wall, of Sherman Oaks, vice president of Smash; and James Lane aka Jim Powers, of Northridge, the alleged "writer and director of the XXX adaptations."
The plaintiffs claim the defendants, "in a willful attempt to capitalize on the reputation of the book," have released a porn flick, "Fifty Shades of Grey: a XXX Adaptation" with two more productions in the works.
British author E.L. James's "Fifty Shades of Grey" novels detail a steamy relationship between heroine Anastasia Steele, a college graduate, and Christian Grey, a wealthy businessman with a penchant for kinky sex.
"'Fifty Shades of Grey' was published as e-books through an Australian virtual publisher before James snagged a deal with Vintage Books. A cultural phenomenon, the worldwide bestseller even spawned a new genre known as 'Mommy Porn,'" according to the complaint.
James owns Fifty Shades Ltd. but is not individually a party to the lawsuit.
Fifty Shades Ltd. claims Smash Pictures boss Stuart Wall, made no bones about the source material for his porn film, telling L.A. Weekly that it is "'very true to the book.'"
"By lifting exact dialogue, characters, events, story, and style from the Fifty Shades trilogy, Smash Pictures ensured that the first XXX adaptation was, in fact, as close as possible to the original works," the 31-page complaint states.
"Beginning with the first XXX Adaptation's opening scene and continuing throughout the next 2½ hours of the film, Smash Pictures copies without reservation from the unique expressive elements of the Fifty Shades trilogy, progressing through the events of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and into the second book, 'Fifty Shades Darker.' The first XXX adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple."
Through its company Luv Moves, Smash released a DVD of the first porn movie along with sex toys in package called "Fifty Shades of Pleasure: Play Kit & Movie," and uses Fifty Shade's trademarks to market its products, according to the complaint.
Fifty Shades and Universal seek an injunction, actual damages and punitive damages for copyright infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, trademark dilution, business law violations and unfair competition.
The plaintiffs are represented in Federal Court by Andrew Thomas with Jenner & Block.
Smash Pictures declined to comment.