Indy Man Sues Warner Bros. Over ‘Ghostman’

     (CN) – A Massachusetts filmmaker demands $10 million from Warner Bros., claiming it’s making a “Ghostman” movie based on his work.
     Michael Kenney pka Mike O’Dea and his company Shamrock Films sued Warner Bros. and Langley Park Pictures in Boston Federal Court.
     Kenney claims he’s been developing a comic book, screenplay and feature-length film called “Ghostman” since 2010.
     “Ghostman” is “a heist thriller about a masked thief who seeks to avoid the F.B.I.,” he says in the complaint. Despite his better intentions, he “is pulled back into ‘one final score’ by his colleagues in crime.”
     Kenney claims he registered “Ghostman” with the Writers Guild of America in June 2011, and has been promoting it ever since through the website “TheGhostmanMovie.com” and in interviews.
     He claims his movie is in post-production and he’s about to submit it to festivals.
     However, “O’Dea recently discovered that Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. and/or Langley Park Pictures purchased the rights to a book and screenplay in order to make another heist thriller film titled ‘The Ghostman’ in which the protagonist, like the protagonist in Mr. O’Dea’s work, is a thief so nicknamed because he avoids the F.B.I. like a ‘ghost,'” according to the complaint.
     Kenney claims the defendants’ film “utilizes the identical theme (heist thriller involving a ‘ghostman’) and title (‘Ghostman’) as Mr. O’Dea’s original, protected work.”
     “The use of the identical theme, central character and title in a competing film by industry giants such as Warner and Langley will have a devastating effect on Mr. O’Dea’s reputation as well as the distribution and franchise potential of his film, related products and copyrights,” he claims.
     He says his attorney served the defendants with a cease and desist order on March 8 this year, to put them on notice of his intention to protect his copyrights.
     “Defendant Warner Brothers failed to respond despite previously filing a similar suit against a competitor for use of the term ‘Hobbit’ in the title to a film shortly before the release of one of its J.R.R. Tolkien movies. Upon information and belief, in that suit, Warner Brothers claimed that the use of the term ‘Hobbit’ in the competing movie title constituted infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, false advertising, and unfair competition,” he claims, adding: “There, the Court found in favor of Warner Brothers.”
     Warner Bros. issued a statement that stated: “‘This victory underscores the importance of protecting the unique work of our industry’s creative community from companies … whose cynical business model is designed to profit from the work of others,'” Kenney says in the complaint.
     He seeks an injunction and $10 million for copyright infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition and deceptive trade.
     He is represented by Timothy Perry, with Perry, Krumsiek & Dolan, of Boston.

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