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Moviemaker Says The Grateful Dead Owe Him

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A filmmaker accused the Grateful Dead of copyright infringement, claiming the band leased rights to documentaries and concert films he created and owns.

Len Dell'Amico sued Rhino Entertainment, National Cinemedia dba Fathom Events, Shout! Factory, Grateful Dead Productions, and surviving Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Michael Steven Hartman aka Mickey Hart.

Jerry Garcia, the Dead's lead guitarist, died in 1995.

Dell'Amico claims that from 1984 to 1991, he produced and directed all Grateful Dead film projects, including tours and live broadcasts, and that he and the band negotiated a deal for back-end compensation from video releases of those works.

"Dell'Amico received either royalty payments or advances for the videos he produced and directed that were distributed by GDP [Grateful Dead Productions]. It was understood that Dell'Amico retained a copyright interest in the works," he says in the complaint.

But in late 2006, Grateful Dead Productions leased to Rhino for 10 years a treasure trove of the band's works, including the films he directed, Dell'Amico says in the complaint.

He claims that Rhino did not credit him for directing and producing the works, nor did it pay him the royalties he is owed under agreements with the band.

A 2002 agreement for another Grateful Dead documentary "So Far," entitles Dell'Amico to a 50 percent cut of revenue until he is paid $25,000, and 15 percent of all adjusted gross income over $750,000, he claims.

He says copyright registrations for his work are pending at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Dell'Amico says the band has denied that he owns the work, claiming he made them as works made for hire.

He wants declaratory judgment that he owns the works and the defendants are violating copyright law, and injunction against distribution the works, and damages for copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, breach of contract, conversion, and accounting.

He is represented by Zachary Levine with Wolk & Levine of Glendale.

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