Rockers, Moviemakers Fight Over 'Girltrash'
LOS ANGELES (CN) - The production company behind the musical comedy "Girltrash: All Night Long" claims that alternative rock band Killola falsely represented that the company had breached the band's copyright by releasing a soundtrack to the film.
Professional Organization Of Women In Entertainment Reaching Up (Power Up) sued Killola and its members, front woman and actress Lisa Rieffel, bassist John Dunn, guitarist Mike Ball and drummer Dan Grody, in a federal complaint of misrepresentation.
According to the Courthouse News database, Dunn sued Power Up and its founder Stacy Codikow in Riverside Superior Court in October 2013, alleging that while the band had agreed to let Codikow use some songs in the film "Girltrash: All Night Long" the producer had used one song without permission.
In the new lawsuit, filed July 18, Power Up claims that in November 2009 Dunn and Rieffel licensed songs free of charge to Power Up and agreed the following year to act as co-producers.
"Girltrash: All Night Long" was written by (nonparty) Angela Robinson and based on characters Robinson created for the lesbian-themed musical web series "Girltrash!"
The song at issue, "Finally," was written after the film was in the can, according to the new lawsuit. Power Up claims that Dunn and Rieffel recorded "Finally" knowing that it would be incorporated into a new sequence at the beginning of the film.
But in late December, Power Up says, Robinson and her wife Alex Kondracke, who directed the film, halted post-production, urging key personnel, including Rieffel, to stop work.
"Power Up was unable to finish the film as a result. Robinson and Kondracke never lifted this work stoppage," the lawsuit states.
Then in February 2011, Power Up claims, Dunn applied for the copyright to "Finally." Killola then did everything it could to stop Power Up from showing the movie at film festivals, demanding that festival organizers pay a fee of $4,000 per screening because of the dispute over rights to the song, according to the complaint.
"As a result, Power Up was unable to show the film in any film festivals around the county, harming the film's eventual distribution and success in the marketplace," the lawsuit states.
Power Up says that when it finally got its hands on the finished version of the movie, several unauthorized alterations had been made, including deletion of certain sequences and insertion of an animated scene.
As the company prepared to release the film at the Palm Springs film festival in the fall of 2013, it says, Killola took legal action in state and federal courts to enjoin Power Up from screening the film with "Finally" included.
Power Up says Dunn dropped both lawsuits, and the band "resorted to social media to continue their campaign of harassment," encouraging fans to illegally download pirated versions of the film.
Moreover, when Power Up released a "Girltrash" soundtrack, Killola allegedly "went on the attack," using social media to offer fans songs from the album for free.
"Rieffel also 'tweeted,' referring to Codikow: 'I'm gonna sue a certain someone so hard, the days of hocking $12 dvds off twitter will be remembered as the good ol' days. Your life SUCKS,'" the lawsuit states.
The band informed iTunes that Power Up was breaching the band's copyright by offering the soundtrack for sale on iTunes, the company adds.
Power Up claims that the band has demanded royalties from sales of the soundtrack. The production company says that is a "concession that Power Up does have the rights to publish and sell the music on soundtrack."
Power Up seeks monetary damages and attorneys fees. It is represented by Kathrin Wanner with Miller Wanner.