Steve Harvey Faces Trial Over Unreleased Comedy Tapes
Steve Harvey is currently in a legal dispute with his former videographer, over ownership rights to old unreleased comedy footage, according to new reports.
Steve Harvey Faces Court Battle Over Unreleased Comedy Videos
Harvey is disputing with Joseph Cooper, who was hired back in 1993 to record performances at Harvey’s Dallas club.
Cooper has allegedly retained 120 hours of footage from the club and claims ownership. Harvey argued that the material was shot for internal use and that Cooper has been attempting to extort him by telling others there’s potentially embarrassing material in the footage.
Harvey even accused Cooper of attempting to sell the tapes back to him for $5 million, according to court documents.
The case is now being presented in a Texas federal court, after U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle got an opportunity to look at the claims and arguments.
Judge Boyle released a summary judgment opinion that rejected two of Cooper’s claims related to interference in the marketplace, but refused Harvey’s bid to rule out a claim that the Family Feud host breached contract. Boyle also denied Harvey an injunction.
Harvey insists that he never signed a contract, and that even if he did, the language in the document did not give Cooper rights to commercially distribute the videos.
The reportedly valid contract includes Harvey’s name and states that Cooper “reserves the right to use the original tape and/or reproductions for display, publication or other purposes.”
Yet, at Cooper’s deposition, the plaintiff agreed that “he has never negotiated a contract where someone gave him their copyrightable works.”
Judge Boyle concluded that the contract is ambiguous, leading to an upcoming trial — the judge told both sides come up with a trial date no later than January 30, 2017.
At the coming proceeding, both Harvey and Cooper could present a financial look at the worth of Harvey’s fame in an effort to win damages.
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