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De Havilland v. Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group, Inc. et al

By Pamela Jones

Oral argument in De Havilland v. Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group, Inc. et al will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at 1:30 pm, before the California Court of Appeals Second Appellate District Division 3. Appellants and amicus curiae in support of the Appellants will go first followed by the Respondents and amicus curiae in support of Respondents. Special arrangements have been made for oral argument in this case to be presented to the court at University of Southern California's Gould School of Law. Appellants were unsuccessful in their effort to have the case dismissed under California's Anti-SLAPP statute, and filed a notice of appeal on October 10th. On October 26th, the Court granted De Havilland's attorney's request for "calendar preference" and directed the parties to submit briefs, on an expedited basis, no later than December 26, 2017. De Havilland, whose age is 101, resides in France and is not expected to attend in person.

All eyes are focused on the outcome of this highly-visible California "right of publicity" case, and its potential impact on depictions of real people in docudramas and "biopics", as well as Porco v Lifetime Entertainment Serv., LLC case, a New York case that similarly challenges First Amendment protection of expressive works and statutory case law. Amicus curiae briefs in support of the Appellant have been submitted by Netflix, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Motion Picture Association of America, Organization of Transformative Works, Wiki Media Foundation, and a group including A&E Television Networks, LLC, Discovery Communications LLC, Imperative Entertainment LCC, Urban One Inc., Critical Content LLC, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the First Amendment Coalition. An amicus curiae brief in support of the Respondent was submitted by SAG/AFTRA.

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