Sam Raimi Sues to Re-Establish Evil Dead Rights Because of Something He Said in a Book Once
This Makes Sense
Some primitive screwheads unaffiliated with the people who created the Evil Dead franchise have been trying to use the horror classic’s title to produce a third sequel to the original movies. But one of those creators, Sam Raimi, never actually signed away the rights to the Evil Dead name, so now he’s suing to stop the aforementioned screwheads from screwing with the series while Raimi is producing an actual Evil Dead movie. However, the screwheads — Award Pictures — say that Raimi all but gave them permission to make an Evil Dead sequel — when he said something to that effect in The Evil Dead Companion, published in 2000. Yup. A random quote in a book from 2000, a quote preceded by the word “Ha,” was read as a go-ahead for Award Pictures to make their own unauthorized sequel to The Evil Dead. Yeah. Good luck with that.
I distinctly remember numerous occasions on which I said “I wouldn’t be caught dead in [fill in the blank fashion trend],” and then totally wearing that very fashion trend months later when my inner Tim Gunn told me I could make it work. Back in 2000, in The Evil Dead Companion, Raimi and producing partner Rob Tapert issued the following quote on a possible follow-up to the third Evil Dead movie, Army of Darkness:
“Ha,” said Rob and Sam. “We’re never going to do a sequel.”
To be clear, this appeared in a book. That’s it. At no point did Raimi, nor Tapert, nor fellow producer and star Bruce Campbell for that matter, officially or legally give up their rights to Evil Dead. In fact, as we know, in 2011, Raimi & Co. announced that contrary to their off-handed and likely sarcastic remark, they would be making a new Evil Dead movie. Actually, it just began principal photography and will wrap that up this July. As a safeguard for the new flick, Raimi went and, under his production company Renaissance Pictures, registered Evil Dead at the U.S. Trademark Office.
And then Award Pictures objected. To Sam Raimi, trying to trademark Evil Dead. Well, because he said he was done with Evil Dead in a book once, so it was theirs for the taking!
“This statement is a public declaration by the defendant that the defendant abandoned the alleged ‘mark,’ Evil Dead, decades ago,” says Award Pictures in papers to the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Yes, because when someone begins a sentence with “Ha,” it is definitely a confirmation that everything said from that point on is to be taken 100 percent seriously. So, the people at Award Pictures read a sentence in a book and ran with it, and then claimed that they were the primary trademark holder of Evil Dead — because they had already started making their own Evil Dead sequel. And not only that, but Renaissance may not have even had exclusive rights to the mark for the sequels it made itself:
Award Pictures goes on to say that even if Evil Dead was a valid mark upon the release of the first film, the sequels can’t be counted as continued use because they were both “works for hire” and “single works.” Additionally, the company points to 20 other motion pictures that have used “Evil Dead” within their title over the years, saying that Renaissance has exhibited “uncontrolled, unregulated, and undefended use of Evil Dead.” Finally, Award says Renaissance’s purported trademark claims constitute a defrauding of others in the entertainment industry.
Wow. Really, Award Pictures? All because of one line in a book? And even after an actual, official Evil Dead movie was announced? Still going with that, huh? Well, cue the lawsuit from Renaissance Pictures:
“As a result of Renaissance’s use of the EVIL DEAD mark and the cult success of the films and related products, the EVIL DEAD mark has acquired enormous value, has become famous among the relevant consuming public and motion picture trade, and is recognized as identifying and distinguishing Renaissance exclusively and uniquely as the source of goods sold and services provided under the EVIL DEAD mark.”
Meaning: No one thinks your little fake Evil Dead movie is legit. So, sorry, Evil Dead 4: Consequences — you’ll have to be called something else and change any familiar names. We suggest calling it Fifty Shades of Death instead. Because now you’ll be sued for “trademark infringement, false advertising, [and] injury to business reputation” if it isn’t shut down, Award Pictures. Renaissance has filed for an injunction against any further infringement or monetary damages.
I’d make a boomstick joke here, but they keep coming out perverted.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)