Thursday, Aug. 30 begins the court case for Paramount Pictures vs. "Godfather" creator Mario Puzo's estate. Here are four things to know as the federal court case kicks off in Manhattan.
1. Reason For the Paramount Vs. Puzo Estate Court Case
The Paramount Vs. Puzo estate dispute stems from the future of "The Godfather" franchise. Anthony Puzo, son of "The Godfather" creator Mario Puzo, wants the court to end Paramount's rights for future additions in the "Godfather" franchise. Paramount however, claims to have purchased all rights and copyright to "The Godfather" in 1969, reports the Associated Press.
2. The Start Of The Dispute
Paramount and Puzo's war over rights came to light when Paramount tried to stop the Puzo's publication of "The Family Corleone," a sequel to "The Godfather." Published in May, attempts to stop "The Family Corleone" began in December. According to the Associated Press, Paramount claims that the Puzo estate only has the rights to publish the original novel, "The Godfather." On top of that, the family estate can strictly publish versions and adaptations of "The Godfather."
3. What The Lawyers Are Saying
While Paramount Pictures contacted the publishers of "The Family Corleone," attempting to stop publishing by claiming that they nor the Puzo estate had no rights to the book, the Puzo estate's lawyers are singing a different tune. According to the estate's lawyers, the agreement between Paramount and the family excluded book publication rights, and that Paramount did not have the power to acquire those rights.
"[Mario] always said, 'Book publishing is my world and I'm not giving any studio book-publishing rights," lawyer Bert Fields explained this past March.
4. The Potential Outcomes
According to the Associated Press, the Puzo estate is asking the court to confirm that Paramount Pictures has no rights to prevent the estate from publishing sequels. The estate is also asking the court to prevent Paramount from having film rights to the new sequels.
"We're not attempting to set aside ownership of the three movies that have been made," Entertainment Weekly reports that Fields explained at the beginning of the legal battle. "Just to terminate any further 'Godfather' rights."
Fields doesn't mean terminate the "Godfather" film franchise completely though, just with Paramount Pictures. "[Mario] made so much money for them," continued Fields. "To my mind, [the lawsuit] is disgraceful."
Paramount Pictures however has a different opinion on the matter. A spokesperson told EW that "The studio has tremendous respect and admiration for Mario Puzo, whose novel 'The Godfather' was acquired in 1969 and helped spawn one of the most celebrated film trilogies of all time. We have an obligation to and will protect our copyright and trademark interests."
"The Godfather" franchise dispute with Paramount Pictures and the Puzo estate begins in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, Aug, 30.
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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