Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog


After serving nine years in prison for robbery and kidnapping, O.J. Simpson was granted parole today. "I've done my time," Simpson told the Nevada Board of Parole. "I've done it as well and as respectfully as I think anyone can."

The parole board was unanimous in its decision, and is now mulling Simpson's release date, which could come as early as October.

Gwen Stefani may be wishing she didn't speak a few fateful phrases last July during a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stefani, while performing at the PNC Pavilion, instructed the crowd seated in the lawn section behind the actual music pavilion to come into the reserved seating area and to "just fill in anywhere you like."

After issuing that instruction from the stage, the crowd rushed the stage, getting past security personnel, breaking through security barricades and other security devices. During the rush to the reserved seating area, plaintiff Lisa Sticklin, who was seated in the reserved seating area, was trampled. Fortunately, her injuries were not fatal, however, she did suffer a broken tibia, and no doubt, suffered needless pain and suffering.

The Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez on Me, has certainly garnered quite a bit of media attention since its release in June 2017. However, in addition to the criticism on social media that the film misrepresents Tupac's life, a lawsuit has been filed claiming the film violates copyright law.

The copyright infringement case was filed by Kevin Powell, a former writer for VIBE magazine, who wrote three of the most widely read biographical articles on Tupac in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Powell alleges that his articles, along with his own life story, were used as the basis for the film, and that the film even stole the creative embellishments he added into the articles to protect Tupac.

The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, who is widely considered the father of modern fantasy literature, has settled the $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. as a result of a dispute over the merchandising rights for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" movies. The films were adapted from Tolkien's seminal works by the same name, which were licensed to United Artists back in 1969.

At the heart of this dispute were allegations that Warner Bros., the distributor for United Artists, had gone overboard with their merchandising. Tolkien's estate asserted that the limited merchandising rights did not extend to all the different products being made, especially the casino slot machines that were named and based upon Tolkien's works. While no dollar amount has been publicly stated related to the lawsuit, one can only imagine that it is substantial, given that Tolkien's estate was willing to settle and publicly state the settlement was amicable.

This past week, Sir Paul McCartney was finally able to regain the copyrights to much of the Beatles' music catalog. The acquisition was part of a confidential settlement agreement related to a lawsuit filed this past January by McCartney seeking to regain individual songs that would meet the 56-year-old requirement in 2018.

The Beatles first single, Love Me Do, was released in 1962. So, by next year, the songs on that first album would be 56 years old. Under the Copyright Act, artists have the right to regain their copyrights after 56 years (or 35 years depending on the date of copyright), which cannot be waived by agreement.

The Jenner sisters, Kendall and Kylie, have been on the receiving end of cease and desist letters from the estates of celebrities due to some t-shirts the two sold. Most recently, a cease and desist letter sent by the estate of Jim Morrison, the late great frontman for the Doors, blasted the sisters for their unauthorized use of the Doors trademark, as well as violating Morrison's post-mortem publicity rights.

The tees featured an image of Kendall superimposed over an iconic and well-known image of Jim Morrison that was used to promote the Doors. This specific shirt was just one of a line of vintage style t-shirts that feature well-known musical artists' work modified to superimpose images of the sisters.

Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential nominee and politician, filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times this week in federal court. The case is over an editorial article that was published on June of this year which allegedly asserted that Palin incited the 2011 shooting that left congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely injured.

The original piece has since been edited. However, allegedly, Palin's crosshair's map was linked to the 2011 shooting in the opinion piece. The article discussed the state of American politics after the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise, on June 14, 2017, at a charity softball game practice.

While the exact amount of money Palin is seeking is not mentioned in the suit, she claims that her damages are minimally $75,000.

When John Oliver committed 24 minutes of last week's Last Week Tonight episode to the coal industry in general and Murray Energy Corporation CEO Robert E. Murray in particular, he knew he was courting a lawsuit. "I'm going to need to be careful here," Oliver began, "because when we contacted Murray Energy for this piece, they sent us a letter instructing us to 'cease and desist from any effort to defame, harass, or otherwise injure Mr. Murray or Murray Energy,' and telling us that 'failure to do so will result in immediate litigation.'"

Oliver also followed up his rant by addressing Murray personally, saying, "I know you're probably going to sue me over this. But, you know what? I stand by everything I said." So it's little surprise then, that Murray Energy sued HBO and Oliver for defamation over what they call a "false and malicious broadcast." Instead, the surprise will be if the suit ever makes it to trial.

Bill Cosby's first criminal trial on sexual assault charges ended last week in a mistrial. Cosby was not acquitted, but a "hopelessly deadlocked" jury could not reach a verdict. While speculation on why the jury couldn't come to consensus on Cosby's guilt ranged from pretrial rulings on evidence to jury instructions from the judge -- all while taking Cosby's fame and the litany of assault allegations into account -- many are wondering what happens next in the case.

Here's a look at some of those possibilities.

Producers Steve Stabler and Brad Krevoy thought they had first dibs on any sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels classic Dumb and Dumber. Imagine their surprise when Dumb and Dumber To hit theaters in 2014 (not to mention the forgettable prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd in 2003).

So Stabler and Krevoy did what any self-respecting, aggrieved movie producers would do: they lawyered up. The producers are suing New Line Cinema for $1 million for breach of contract.