Guild calls site a 'sophisticated yet blatant cyber-swindle'
The Directors Guild of America has won a preliminary injunction against a Las Vegas company that sought money from directors and actors through a Web site purportedly backed by the DGA.
Invision Entertainment and its operators, William Morrison, Jodi Prosch and Tracey Tsuda, who had set up a Web site called directorsguild.com, were ordered by U.S. District Judge Harry Hupp to stop using the term or any such moniker that might suggest an affiliation with the DGA.
The defendants, who could not be reached for comment, had offered memberships to actors and directors for as much as $235 a pop. With membership came a chance to place pictures and resumes on the site for promotional and career enhancement purposes. The site also listed a “1998 directory of members” that was in fact the DGA’s own membership directory, apparently lifted from the DGA Web site, http://www.dga.org.
The guild’s lawyers, who filed suit on July 16, said the site’s name falsely suggested the blessing of the DGA. The guild called Invision’s actions “shameless trademark infringement” and a “sophisticated yet blatant cyber-swindle.”
The site, evidently no longer active, purported to be “a computer database resource for aspiring film and television directors and actors,” the DGA lawsuit said. It contained pictures of industry figures like James Cameron and Will Smith, neither of whom had authorized their inclusion.
After a temporary restraining order was filed against Invision on July 21, Morrison was alleged to have deliberately spread confusion by sending e-mail messages to the DGA members telling them they were no longer members of his organization; since, until that point, the directors had been unaware of Invision’s existence, some believed they had been dropped from the DGA itself, and called the guild to wonder why.
The DGA claimed in its suit that as a result of Invision’s actions, the guild has suffered “substantial damage to its reputation and goodwill, as well as diversion of trade and loss of revenues.” The guild seeks punitive and compensatory damages. A preliminary injunction was handed down on July 31.
On Monday, a scheduled contempt hearing against Morrison in Hupp’s Los Angeles courtroom was continued until Sept. 14.