NBA fam LeBron James and Grammy-winning rapper Drake, along with their respective media companies, are among the defendants in a lawsuit claiming their participation in the illegal acquisition of “intellectual property rights” to a forthcoming documentary.
As per the report from the New York Post, former NBA members union head Billy Hunter and his attorney Larry Hutcher have noted the lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court over the rights to Black Ice, that is the film adaptation of the book Black Ice, which contains The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, the year 1895 to 1925.
In the suit, Hunter, the National Basketball Players Association’s executive director from 1996 to 2013, says he holds special rights to any movie made about the CHL due to a deal he struck with the book’s writers, George and Darril Fosty, in March 2019. The offer included a $10,000 down payment and an “option agreement” for a film adaptation. Hunter stated that the Fostys later breached their contract to work out a side offer with James and Drake’s team; the lawsuit also claims Hunter paid the authors $265,000 for the film’s legal rights, according to the Post.
Black Ice is ready to make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10. It is executively produced by James and Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, and James’s partner in business, Maverick Carter.
“While the defendants LeBron James, Drake, and Maverick Carter are globally famous and renowned in their respective fields of games including basketball and music, it does not afford them the right to have another’s intellectual property,” Hutcher said in the suit, according to the Post.
Moreover to James and Drake, Hunter also listed James’s companies, The Springhill Company and Uninterrupted Canada, additionally Drake’s Dreamcrew Entertainment, a movie he co-founded with fellow rapper Future, as accused. The Fosters and their publishing team, Stryker Indigo, also have been named along with First Take Entertainment. This movie-making company reportedly aided James and Springhill in acquiring the rights.
According to the Post, the suit alleges Hunter received a call from George Fosty in October 2020 after speaking with other producers concerning outhouse interest in the film rights with the First Take reps, and Uninterrupted Canada leads Vinay Virmani and Scott Moore. At the same time, Hunter “unequivocally said that this was his passion project, and he doesn’t want to sell his exclusive option or any portion of his rights,” as per the lawsuit. But the schedules for the separate documentary moved forward.
The lawsuit said Hunter and his lawyer later submitted a breach-of-contract letter to the defendants on Nov. 1, 2021, after knowing of the movie and Drake’s involvement as an executive producer. Hutcher was then reportedly told by Fostys that the “competing venture” did not disturb his “exclusive worldwide license” or film rights because the “documentary” was different and did not break out the deal, which Hutcher disagreed with.
“A documentary is still a ‘motion picture’ and an ‘audiovisual adaptation,’ and any avow to the contrary is absurd and made in bad intent,” Hutcher stated in the suit, per the Post.
The suit also claims Hunter paid the Fostys $250,000 in February 2022 to retain “exclusive worldwide rights’ ‘ to any “audiovisual” adaptation of the Black Ice story. Meanwhile, James’s team reportedly offered Fostys $100,000 to acquire the “already optioned” rights to produce an independent documentary and “agreed to pay the authors 3% of the total movie budget,” according to the Post.
“The Uninterrupted defendants [Team LeBron] paid those sums to induce the Authors to breach their Agreement with Plaintiff,” the suit alleges, per the Post. Neither James nor Drake has commented on the suit as of Monday evening.
Dakota Cameron is a seasoned web content writer and covers the Hollywood movies for the MovieThop Website
Ms. Cameron began his professional life as a freelance blogger. Later, he worked for Witbe as a content writer for two years. His interests include blogging, reading, movies and travel.
Ms. Cameron graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication from University State of Georgia University. He is fluent in French, Spanish, and other languages.