Studio That Sued Over ‘Michael Lucas' La Dolce Vita’ Loses Again

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — International Media Films, the mainstream film studio that filed an infringement lawsuit and lost against gay adult company Lucas Entertainment Inc. over “Michael Lucas' La Dolce Vita" several years ago, has lost again at federal court over the Federico Fellini classic.

U.S. District Judge James Otero last month signed a default judgment over the U.S. rights to "La Dolce Vita,” awarding $900,000 to Paramount.

Paramount claimed in November 2011 that International Media Films infringed on the copyright of "La Dolce Vita," which it secured through a deal with the movie's true owner, Melange Pictures.

According to Paramount’s lawsuit, International Media sent cease-and-desist letters to the mainstream studio, staking a claim of ownership in the film.

International Media alleged that its chain of title to the film rights originated from Cinemat's transfer of rights in 1980; it also questioned Paramount's right to distribute the movie, claiming that an earlier 1962 transfer was invalid.

But in June 2013, a federal judge granted partial summary judgment to Paramount, finding International Media provided no evidence that it holds chain of title to the film rights.

Years earlier, International Media tested infringement claims when it accused Lucas Entertainment of making an unauthorized porn version of "La Dolce Vita."

That case against the iconic gay porn brand lasted three years and was later dismissed because International Media was found to have lacked a credible documentation of its chain of title, as in the Paramount case.

At the time Lucas Entertainment founder CEO Michael Lucas said that the studio was lucky to have quality legal advice and the financial resources “to stand up to this bullying."

“Of course I can only guess at my opponents' motivations, but if they thought that they could get a quick payday by walking all over a porn company, they were sorely mistaken,” Lucas said at the time.

In the Paramount case, International Media was ordered to pay $475,000 in damages and $425,000 in attorneys fees and costs.