The success of Empire had so many people coming out of the woodworks, trying to claim a spot in their pot. First, it was 50 Cent who said the show was a rip-off of his Starz show, Power. Then, Mo’Nique, said she was supposed to play Cookie, and Joseline Hernandez thinks the character was based off her. Now, Fox is going to be embroiled in a lawsuit over the show’s name.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox filed a trademark lawsuit to prove that they can use ‘Empire” despite the fact that a music distribution company, Empire Distribution, is asking for $5 million plus casting in the show for their artists because they share the same name.
Empire Distribution is giving Fox a couple of more demands, including they must be paid $8 million if their artists aren’t going to be on the show or they must “stop using the word ‘Empire.’”
Fox portrays Empire Distribution as commercially weak with a Google search for “empire record label” not resulting in defendant’s website until the seventh page. To get there, Google users will be flipping past others who have used the mark. “There is even a film called Empire Records,” remarks the complaint filed on behalf of Fox by attorney Marvin Putnam in California federal court.
Fox won’t pay up. Instead, it’s suing to protect itself upon “a cloud over Fox’s intellectual property rights in the fictional television series Empire and the Soundtrack Music.”
“Unfortunately, success today can often make creators a target for a myriad of baseless legal claims,” says Putnam of O’Melveny & Myers. “They hope you will just pay a little something from that success to make them go away. As underscored by today’s complaint, Fox has no intention of allowing anyone to leverage Empire’s success for their own unwarranted financial gain.”
It should be noted that Empire Distribution tried to file for tradmark last year, but they were denied. So, really, it’s anyone’s game. But, if there was ever a chance to see some of Empire Distribution’s artists on the show, here are the ones we’d want to see:
Sage the Gemini
The Foreign Exchange
What do you think of the lawsuit?
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