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Summit Entertainment, Lions Gate Sued by ‘Twilight’ Parodists for $500 Million


June 7, 2013
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Summit Entertainment and Lions Gate sued by Between the Lines Productions, the popular producers of several “Twilight” parodies over accusations that the makers of the teen franchise derailed the release of another parody film.

In a 219-page document filed with the court, Between the Lines argues that it was engaged in talks with several movie distributors about the release of another parody film “Twiharder.” However, Lions Gate’s Summit Entertainment sent a cease-and-desist letter accusing the parody producer of entertainment law violations, including copyright and trademark infringement.

In court documents, Between the Lines argues that, as a result of the cease-and-desist letter – which it says is unjustified – the distributors revoked their offers to work with the company.

“The ‘Twiharder’ film commits wholesale trademark and copyright infringement,” Summit wrote in an email to Between the Lines Productions after a private screening of the parody film, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Not only does the film use the confusingly similar trademark ‘Twiharder,’ it also uses an identical font style, color, artwork and graphics contained in (original ‘Twilight’) films, DVDs and merchandise, the same storyline verbatim and dialogue, similar costumes and character names, and myriad scenic, visual, and musical references to the films.”

The company says Lions Gate is attempting to hold a monopoly over the Twilight sagas by blocking other legitimate producers from creating new works based on the series, and that Between the Lines should be permitted to release the movie under the “fair use” doctrine. The law protects independent filmmakers, parodists, and other artists, and enables the production of films and other “separate or derivative works that may be related to, inspired by or comment upon the pop culture events that dominate the national Cineplex,” the Times reports.

In its lawsuit, Between the Lines Productions accuses Lions Gate and Summit of violating federal intellectual property and anti-trust laws, and is suing the entertainment behemoths for $500 million in damages.