CBS Inc. has asked a federal court to declare that it, and not the heirs of producer Leonard Freeman, has the exclusive right to exploit the story and characters of the popular TV series “Hawaii Five-O.”
In a complaint filed Monday in U. S. District Court in Los Angeles, attorneys for the Eye web assert that Freeman’s widow, Rose Freeman, and two family trusts are claiming they have the right to use the series property for theatrical films.
The heirs are making the claims despite the existence of a pair of contracts that CBS claims gives all exploitation rights pertaining to the series to the network.
CBS claims it obtained the rights in a 1966 agreement with series creator Freeman and his Leonard Freeman Prods., under which Freeman was to be executive producer of the show.
When Freeman died in 1974, his production company asked CBS to be relieved of its obligations under the 1966 pacts, the lawsuit said.
An agreement executed that year allegedly ended those obligations and CBS, in return, was granted a worldwide license in perpetuity in all media to the characters, titles and situations on which “Hawaii Five-O” is based.
The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages for an anticipated breach of contract.
Defendants include Rose Freeman, the Rose Freeman Revocable Trust, the Leonard Freeman Trust and George Litto, who allegedly was granted an interest in the series by one or more of the other defendants.