A lot of eyes are on the copyright lawsuit that an ex-Vibe journalist filed back in June against Lionsgate and others over the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me but the studio says Kevin Powell’s action should be dismissed. Quite simply, Powell never registered actually the material he says is his.
“Plaintiff Kevin Powell’s Complaint is procedurally deficient and must be dismissed as a matter of law,” says a memorandum of law accompanying the motion from distributor Lionsgate, Morgan Creek Productions, Program Pictures and producer Lenton Terrell Hutton. “The basis for Defendants’ motion to dismiss is simple,” the August 7 filing in federal court adds (read it here). “Plaintiff asserts six causes of action in the Complaint, all of which are predicated on Defendants’ alleged infringement of Plaintiff’s purported copyrights,” it goes on to say. “But Plaintiff fails to plead a fundamental prerequisite to sustain a copyright infringement claim, i.e., receipt or refusal of a registration certificate for the works at issue. Thus, the Complaint fails to allege a single claim upon which this Court can grant relief.”
Attorneys for Powell have not responded to request for comment on the motion yesterday from the defendants.
In his initial complaint filed on June 23, Powell alleged that substantial elements of the Benny Boom directed flick was based on interviews he did with the hip hop legend back in the 1990s. Also claiming that his “fictional characters and re-worked narratives” were used in the movie that was released on what would have been the 1996 killed Shakur’s 46th birthday of June 16, 2017, the writer sought to have All Eyez yanked out of theaters. He also wants a part of the now more than $44 million the pic has pulled in at the box office.
Lionsgate and several of the other defendants say Powell won’t get any California Love, to quote one of Tupac’s best known tunes.
“The Complaint does not allege that he has either obtained or been denied registration for any of the three works at issue in his Complaint,” the defendants’ motion paperwork notes , requesting a hearing before NYC-based Judge Dora Irizarry, on the matter. “Indeed, Plaintiff cannot make such an allegation in good faith, as an online search of the United States Copyright Office’s catalogue confirms no registration has issued under Plaintiff’s name for his asserted copyrights.”
Erica Van Loon of L.A.’s Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP represents Lionsgate and the defendants in the dismissal motion.