×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Warner Bros. Sues Innovative Artists Over Screener Leak

UPDATED: Warner Bros. filed suit today against Innovative Artists Talent and Literary Agency, alleging that the talent agency put awards screeners on in-house Google Drive account, allowing them to leak to file-sharing sites.

The suit states that two WB films — “Creed” and “In the Heart of the Sea” — appeared online in December 2015, after the studio distributed screeners. Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, which provides “content security” for studios, notified Warner Bros that the films had been pirated and that the watermarks traced back to an Innovative Artists’ client.

According to the suit, Innovative Artists would routinely rip DVD screeners intended for clients and upload them to a shared Google Drive account. Numerous people inside and outside the company had access to the films on the account, including managers, friends and relatives. On one occasion, the agency gave an assistant who worked at another company access to the account in exchange for a screener that was not already in the database.

Innovative Artists did not immediately return a call seeking comment. However, it appears from the lawsuit that the agency cooperated with Warner Bros. when notified of the leak. The agency shut down the Google Drive account — which had been active for only a month — and provided user logs to Warner Bros. According to the logs, more than 20 people downloaded the films from the account over a five-day period.

In the suit, Warner Bros. called the shared account “blatantly illegal,” and alleged that should have been obvious to a talent agency whose clients’ livelihoods depend on copyright protection. The suit seeks monetary damages and an injunction that would bar Innovative Artists from establishing a similar file-sharing arrangement in the future.

Deadline Hollywood was first to report the news.

Innovative Artists issued a statement late Monday apologizing to Warner Bros., while noting that sharing of screeners is commonplace in the industry:

“Innovative Artists has fully cooperated with Warner Bros. from the first moment Warner Bros. informed Innovative that two award screener movies had been found on an Internet bit torrent site in December 2015. Innovative immediately permitted Warner Bros. to enter it’s offices, interview it’s employees, review its databases, and fully investigate the issues. As Warner Bros. well-knows, Innovative management immediately shut down all access to award screeners in December 2015 and Innovative immediately ceased any further activity that is the subject of the complaint. Warner Bros. is well aware, from its past experience with other industry entities, the sharing of award screeners is commonplace within the Hollywood community. Innovative was surprised, given its full cooperation with Warner Bros. investigation, that the complaint was filed without any communication from Warner Bros. without any prior contact with Innovative to resolve the claims. Notwithstanding that fact, Innovative is sorry for the improper sharing of the screener movies and will seek to resolve this matter with Warner Bros. on fair and reasonable terms as soon as possible. Innovative will have no further comment on this matter.”

More Biz

  • Paramount

    Justice Department Goes to Court to Lift Paramount Consent Decrees

    The Justice Department filed a motion in federal court on Friday to terminate the Paramount consent decrees, the agreements that have governed the theatrical business for 70 years. Makan Delrahim, the head of the department’s antitrust division, announced in a speech on Monday that he would take action to end the decrees, which he argued [...]

  • Sam Hunt Country and Pop Hitmakers

    Sam Hunt Apologizes for ‘Selfish’ Decision to Drive Under the Influence

    Country singer-songwriter Sam Hunt, who was arrested in Nashville on charges of driving under the influence and possession of an open container early Thursday morning, tweeted an apology for the incident Friday afternoon. “Thursday night I decided to drive myself home after drinking at a friend’s show in downtown Nashville,” he wrote. “It was a [...]

  • The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bono

    U2 Tops Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran as Highest-Grossing Touring Artist of the Decade

    U2 topped the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift as the top-grossing touring artist of the 2010s, according to data from Pollstar. U2 grossed more than a billion dollars — $1,038,104,132, to be exact — although that number is likely to grow, as the group is currently on its “Joshua Tree 2019” tour in Australia, New [...]

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Africa Channel Owner, Congressional Black Caucus Blast Comcast Over Byron Allen Case

    The Congressional Black Caucus and an owner of cable’s Africa Channel have turned up the pressure on Comcast, blasting the cable giant for its business practices and legal strategy in fighting Byron Allen’s racial discrimination lawsuit. Paula Madison, an owner of The Africa Channel (TAC), issued a lengthy statement criticizing Comcast for what she characterized [...]

  • Def Jam Logo

    Layoffs Hit Def Jam Records

    Def Jam Records laid off several employees this week, including executive VP of brand strategy and content Noah Callahan-Bever and OJ Lima, senior VP in that department, a source close to the situation has confirmed to Variety. A total of seven employees let go, a number that includes regional promotion staffers not based in New [...]

  • The Story of Erroll Garner, the First

    The True Story of Erroll Garner, the First Artist to Sue a Major Label and Win

    It’s not at all unusual for artists to engage in creative or financial differences with their record labels, but only a few end up in court. Last year, Kanye West sued his label, Universal, and publisher, EMI, claiming that his deals amounted to “servitude” (the EMI suit was settled in September), echoing Prince’s famous battle [...]

  • Peter Gray

    Columbia Records Names Peter Gray Executive VP/ Head of Promotion

    Peter Gray, who stepped down as Warner Bros. Records’ executive VP/GM and head of radio promotion last year, is joining Columbia Records as the label’s EVP and head of promotion, sources tell Variety. He fills the role vacated by Lee Leipsner, who left the company in March. Gray’s appointment is the latest in a series [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content