VCX, Arrow in Consent Decree Over '70s Porn
LAS VEGAS — Arrow Productions and VCX have signed a consent decree stating that Arrow owns a valid copyright to "Deep Throat" and its sequels.
Arrow, in return agreed not to produce and sell copies of "Debbie Does Dallas."
The decree was signed by both Arrow's Raymond Pistol and VCX's Dave Sutton,
U.S. District Judge Philip Pro in Las Vegas, who signed off on the final judgment, said that "contrary to what VCX believed, 'Deep Throat' was not put into the public domain by virtue of circulating prints without a copyright notice."
"Deep Throat" was produced by Louis "Butchie" Peraino, who named his company Arrow Film and Video, which is now known as Arrow Productions and headed by Pistol.
Pro said that Peraino sold Arrow the rights to "Deep Throat" in 1996, and that "Peraino never relinquished copies of any of the prints to 'Deep Throat' until the late 1980s, and those prints each included a copyright notice."
"While there may have been prints of 'Deep Throat' that were circulated without a copyright notice, those were amongst the many unauthorized prints that were made by the film lab without knowledge or authorization of Peraino or his corporation and sold illegally."
The 61-minute movie follows a sexually frustrated woman who asks her friend for advice on how to achieve an orgasm. After a sex party provides no help, Lovelace visits a doctor (Harry Reems), who discovers that her clitoris is located in her throat. The movie’s tagline is "How far does a girl have to go to untangle her tingle?"
The production is rumored to have cost less than $50,000 and was directed by Gerard Damiano, who had rights to one-third of the profits. He reportedly was paid a lump sum of $25,000 once the film became popular and was forced out of the partnership. It reportedly earned box-office sales of $600 million.
In the 1970s, the film was banned outright in many parts of the U.S., and typically tended to find "four-walled" screenings in a small network of adult theaters. The term four-walled refers to the practice where a producer rents a theater (the four walls), presents a show and keeps the proceeds. The producer even operates the projector.
Arrow, in the suit filed August 2009, alleged trademark and copyright infringement and counterfeiting, among other charges, over the sale of versions of "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones."
Arrow said it held ownership of 16 "Deep Throat" movies, as well as two "Linda Lovelace" movies. The Las Vegas company also claims it owns six "The Devil in Miss Jones" movies.
VCX marketed copies of "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones" on its website.
VCX owner Sutton earlier this year told XBIZ that he started distributing "Deep Throat" because Arrow had refused his repeated requests that it stop distributing two other classic films VCX said it had the rights to — "Debbie Does Dallas" and "The Devil in Miss Jones."
If Arrow would have given up those two titles, Sutton said he'd have give up "Deep Throat."
This week, the settlement ends nearly two years of legal wrangling.
Each party, Pro ordered, will bear their own attorneys fees.