The BBC and production company Sugar Films has hit back at a lawsuit by The Cosby Show producer Carsey-Werner that the two firms had infringed copyright in documentary Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon. The broadcaster and British firm were the subject of the claim in California federal court at the end of last year. Carsey-Werner claimed that the BBC and Sugar Films were looking to capitalize on the popularity of the long-running U.S. sitcom. However, in a filing on Friday, Sugar Films noted: “Because Plaintiff’s The Cosby Show made Cosby an international celebrity, Fall naturally references that television series and uses short clips to illustrate his once iconic image as the quintessential family man before the recent allegations surfaced.” The Sky-backed production company added that the documentary was not available in the U.S. “Due to “geoblocking” or other technological means, only those within the U.K. had the ability readily to view the program using iPlayer during that one-month window. Anyone viewing Fall outside of the U.K. did so without the authorization of Defendants Sugar Films and BBC. At no time did Defendants authorize [the doc] to be made available to viewers in the United States, via regular broadcast, iPlayer or any other means.”
Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Post, has been officially banned in Lebanon as a result to the director’s ties to Israel. Fox’s Dreamworks/Participant feature, which tells the story of the Pentagon Papers through the eyes of The Washington Post’s Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, had initially passed the country’s government-run screening process. However, the Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks-fronted film was later banned after pressure from the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon and a recommendation from the Ministry of Economy was relayed to the General Security agency. It is the latest high-profile film to be banned in the country after Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was banned as a result of star Gal Gadot being from Israel.
Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain’s France-based Elephant Group is partnering with Webedia to create digital production label Elephant Entertainment. The plan is to create and produce projects for online platforms and television across fiction, documentary and entertainment formats. The new label will combine Elephant’s production experience with Webedia’s social media knowledge, access to YouTube stars and other influencers, and understanding of online funding models and relationships with key brands. The first three projects are already in development: a short-form fiction series, a live event game show and also a major brand-funded entertainment series. Elephant’s credits include magazine shows such as 7 A 8 (TF1), drama Killer By The Lake (TF1) and factual entertainment format The Extraordinary Powers Of The Human Body (France 2) as well as being one of Europe’s biggest producers of documentaries. Webedia encompasses such websites as AlloCiné, jeuxvideo.com, Purepeople.com and, Easyvoyage.com. It also represents a network of new talent from the digital world responsible for generating more than 550M views each month in France. Webedia is also producer of BeIN eSport and co-producer of the Almost Adult series broadcast in summer 2017 on TF1.