Smash Pictures, Adult DVD Empire Hit With 'Fifty Shades' Lawsuit

Bob Johnson

LOS ANGELES — The copyright holder of “Fifty Shades of Grey” is suing Smash Pictures and its principals, its Luv Moves novelty company, writer/director Jim Powers, and online retailer Adult DVD Empire alleging the defendants are creating unauthorized movies and sex toys based on the blockbuster trilogy.

According to Courthouse News, Fifty Shades Ltd. and Universal City Studio named Smash Pictures, its owner Daniel Quinn, of Colchester, Conn.; Luv Moves; Right Ascension Inc. dba Adult DVD Empire; Stuart Wall, of Sherman Oaks, vice president of Smash; and James Lane aka Jim Powers, of Northridge in the suit.

“Fifty Shades” author E.L. James owns Fifty Shades Ltd. but is not an individual party to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants hijacked the mommy porn phenom and, "in a willful attempt to capitalize on the reputation of the book," have released Smash’s porn film, "Fifty Shades of Grey: a XXX Adaptation" with two more productions in the works.

Smash actually lists the title on its website as "This Isn't Fifty Shades of Grey XXX." The studio recently announced part two of the parody series, "This Isn’t Fifty Shades Darker II" set for release Jan.10, 2013.

Copyright owner Fifty Shades Ltd. claims Wall admitted to using the book as source material for Smash’s movie, telling L.A. Weekly that it is ”very true to the book.”

Wall told XBIZ he had no comment on the lawsuit.

"By lifting exact dialogue, characters, events, story, and style from the Fifty Shades trilogy, Smash Pictures ensured that the first XXX adaptation was, in fact, as close as possible to the original works," the 31-page complaint states.

"Beginning with the first XXX Adaptation's opening scene and continuing throughout the next 2 1/2 hours of the film, Smash Pictures copies without reservation from the unique expressive elements of the Fifty Shades trilogy, progressing through the events of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and into the second book, 'Fifty Shades Darker.' The first XXX adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple."

The complaint goes on to allege that Smash also released the parody DVD along with sex toys in a package called “Fifty Shades of Pleasure: Play Kit & Movie” through its new Luv Moves company. The plaintiffs maintain that Smash uses “Fifty Shades” trademarks to sell its products.

Fifty Shades and Universal seek an injunction, actual damages and punitive damages for copyright infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, trademark dilution, business law violations and unfair competition.

Adult DVD Empire was contacted by XBIZ but did not repond by post time.

Director Jim Powers was also contacted by XBIZ but did not respond.