The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has filed a copyright action against producer Sid Luft over his possession of a copy of an Oscar awarded to his former wife, Judy Garland.
According to a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Luft had a copy made without the Academy’s consent “in an attempt to create a defense” to a previous lawsuit.
Garland was given an honorary juvenile award in 1940. According to the complaint, the Academy sent the actress a replacement in 1958 after her publicist said the original was lost. Luft, however, allegedly later recovered the original.
In May 2000, the Academy learned that her Oscar was being offered on the Internet for $3 million. At that time, the Academy sued Luft, claiming the attempted sale was in violation of a standard Academy agreement in which recipients give AMPAS first refusal to buy the statues back for $10.
However, Luft filed a declaration claiming he did not have the original Oscar but, rather, a copy. This copy was displayed for the Academy’s lawyers last July.
The new suit says the Academy never authorized a copy to be made and asked for an injunction against display or transfer of the copy, forfeiture, $150,000 in statutory damages, and unspecified punitive damages.