Legal problems, schmegal shproblems!
Showtime IS planning on showing the documentary about Venus and Serena Williams, basically giving a middle finger to the U.S. Tennis Association, because they want the U.S. District Court in NY to ban it! Instead, Showtime is showing it on August 23! Ha!
Why does the USTA want it banned? They're alleging that the filmmakers infringed on the group’s copyrights! Probably because of scenes of Serena’s tirade at the 2009 U.S. Open! Why would they care? Because they think the scenes in question are “not in the best interests of the sport.”
Ummm, what?? Just a quick YouTube search will show you COUNTLESS clips of tennis players losing their shizz! One documentary isn't going to start having the population hating tennis because Serena was upset! We've already seen her do it!
What's nuts is that the filmmakers shot almost ALL of the footage for the film, so if it gets banned, they're losing their hard work because of super small portions! They aren't going down without a fight though, and say that the “snippets of U.S. Open matches” that had been broadcast and are super justifiable under the law’s fair use doctrine.
In other words, a First Amendment right to use the material without permission… because it serves public interest!
Also, there's something shady going on with the USTA: the copyright for the footage wasn't filed until right before the lawsuit was filed! This was AFTER the doc has been debuted in Toronto and had been available on VOD and iTunes! Dirty!
Cray! We have NO idea why the USTA is putting so much effort into this — it doesn't seem worth it! Unless, they're looking for HUGE damages and a payday!
To that, we totally roll our eyes! Do your thing, Showtime!
[Image via Magnolia Pictures.]