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Spunk Sues Lucas for Infringement

San Francisco distributor claims that condom-only Lucas released a bareback movie that he owns the rights to, files suit in district court
Spunk Sues Lucas for Infringement
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May 15, 2008 6:00 PM PDT    Text size: 
SAN FRANCISCO — Gay distributor/retailer Spunk Video and parent company LBB Corp. have filed suit against Lucas Distribution and its parent company Lucas Entertainment for copyright infringement, claiming that Lucas released a noncondom gay video that Spunk Video says it owns the exclusive rights to.

The suit was filed on April 30, in U.S. District Court in New York.

The company claims that they bought the video, which they released in November under the title “Nasty Piss Boys,” from a European director who was commissioned to produce the film originally by Lucas. Upon completion, Lucas apparently rejected the film and the director then sold it to Spunk Video.

In April, according to Spunk Video Executive Producer Mike Brady, his company received an email from Lucas Distribution promoting a video titled “Raw Twinks in Czech,” which included photo stills from the movie and was marketed under the European producer’s imprint. Recognizing the content of the photos, Brady claims the company sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lucas within two hours of receiving the promotional email, but received no response form Lucas.

“He ordered up a movie, then changed his mind and decided that he didn’t want to release a bareback movie,” Brady told XBIZ.

“Then he changed his mind again and decide he did want to release a bareback movie,” Brady added. “Only he didn’t want to do it under his name and he wanted to do it on our dime. Frankly, if he had released it before we bought it then we would have no claim to it, but the fact of the matter is, this is our footage.”

Brady told XBIZ that he and his lawyers sent several cease-and-desist letters, to which they received no response. At that point, Brady said that he contacted Michael Lucas personally and asked for proof of the company’s right to distribute the film.

“I said to him, ‘What’s the deal about this?’ And he said that he produced the movie,” Brady described. “And I said, ‘Well, you didn’t pay for it,’ and he said, ‘I have a non-exclusive license to the movie.’ I asked if he would send me the contract, and he said he would fax it, and he never faxed it.”

After several more phone calls and requests to see the contract for non-exclusive rights, Brady said that Lucas’ lawyers said they would show the contract to Spunk Video only if a confidentiality agreement was signed, to promise not to divulge the details of the alleged contract.

Brady claimed also that Lucas had told him that 1,000 copies of the DVD had been produced and that after they were sold, he would not reproduce more of the title.

“That’s $25,000 [at wholesale],” Brady said. “That’s money that belongs to us. It’s our movie. “He was completely unreasonable about the situation. He said that he’d only pressed 1,000 DVDs and [he'd] sell them, and then that’s all.”

Though not raised in the suit filed against Lucas, Brady also alleges that Lucas released the video with incorrect custodian of records information.

“We are the custodian of records for all of our movies. It’s here in San Francisco, and it’s the true and correct custodian of records,” Brady claimed. “Lucas released that movie, knowing that we had the rights to the movie and also knowing that the custodian of records information is false.

“We didn’t raise that in the complaint,” Brady added, “but what we said in the press release is that any retailers or streamers that may be considered secondary producer of the product should be aware that the custodian of records that Lucas has listed is willfully incorrect, and you may quote me on that.”

In view of Michael Lucas’ well-known anti-barebacking stance within the adult industry and in the gay community at large, the allegations against his company for distributing a bareback movie seem especially controversial.

“It is hard to believe,” Brady said. “I couldn’t believe it myself, especially given his condom-only policies.

“Look, I don’t care; if he wants to get in the market for bareback movies, it’s up to him,” he added. “He’s just not going to do it on our back. We paid for that movie, we own the footage and we’re the custodian of records and we’re defending our rights.”

This afternoon, Lucas Entertainment issued a formal statement regarding the case. It said, “Lucas Entertainment never had and does not have any intentions to produce bareback videos. Our company is also not concerned about Spunk Video’s motives to issue such a baseless press release.”

The statement also included a quote from Lucas Entertainment CEO and President Michael Lucas, who said, “I’m not even remotely interested in reading Spunk Video’s press release and Spunk Video is welcome to take any letter they have to any court they choose."

According to a Lucas Entertainment spokesperson, Michael Lucas is currently in South America and is not scheduled to return to the U.S. until sometime next week.

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