(CN) – Hip-hop star Drake tried to “destroy” the value of a concert film called “Homecoming” by calling it “unauthorized,” to drum up ticket sales to his summer music festival, the distributor claims in court.
Mediacast Holdings dba Specticast sued Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham), on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Specticast claims he launched a libelous campaign accusing it of showing unauthorized concert footage from his 2009 show at the Toronto Academy, though Drake had “assigned all rights” to the footage to nonparty Serious Entertainment and is party to a contract in which he gets 15 percent of the movie’s distribution profits.
Specticast calls itself one of the fastest-growing distributors of concert films, which it offers worldwide via TV, video on demand and DVD. It says it works through a network of more than 3,000 venues around the world to play its movies in digital-equipped cinemas.
It claims it has distributed concert films featuring Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, Hall & Oates, The Philadelphia Orchestra and The English National Opera.
“Hometown” contains extensive footage of Drake’s breakout performance in Toronto, his hometown, in 2009.
“That night, an unexpected sold-out crowd witnessed Drake’s ‘Homecoming’ performance, and within a month Drake was signed to a new record label,” the lawsuit states.
Drake saw the movie in 2014 and approved a trailer in December, but neither Drake nor his record label, October’s Very Own (OVO) protested to Specticast until three days before the March 19 premier, Specticast claims.
On March 16, Drake Tweeted to his 21.6 million followers: “The Drake Homecoming film is not something OVO or Drake have any part in. I feel it is my responsibility to inform and protect my fans,” according to the lawsuit.
That and a press release in which Drake disavowed any “creative input” in the “unauthorized film project” created a media firestorm, Specticast says.
In the midst of that false drama, on March 16, Drake dropped news of his “OVO Fest,” an August concert promoted by Drake and his record label, with tickets to go on sale March 20, Specticast says.
The next day, Drake again Tweeted negative comments about the movie, using the hashtag #protectingthefans, according to the complaint.
Specticast claims Drake tried to drum up ticket sales under the false guise of “protecting fans.”
Specticast seeks damages for libel and intentional interference with contract. It also seeks a declaration that the film is an authorized production that it has the “absolute legal right to distribute.”
Specticast is represented by Peter Haviland, with Ballard Spahr in Los Angeles.
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