Deep Throat porn company attempts to block Lovelace from cinematic release

The company which owns the rights to the 1972 porn film has filed a $10 million lawsuit against producers of the feature film starring Amanda Seyfried

The release of a controversial biopic about porn star Linda Lovelace is under threat after the company which owns the rights to cult 1972 blue movie Deep Throat took legal action to block it.

Lovelace, which stars Amanda Seyfried in the title role, has been a hit on film festival circuits and had been due for theatrical release in America on Friday.

But Arrow Productions Ltd, the company that owns the rights to Deep Throat, claims the film uses more than five minutes of unlicensed footage and yesterday filed a $10 million (£6.5 million) copyright action at the District Court, Manhattan.

The title Lovelace gets its market appeal entirely from the cultural cachet of the trademarked name Linda Lovelace, Arrow Productions’s lawsuit states, adding: “The defendants use that title without license or permission.”

Representative for the Lovelace producers, who include Millennium Films Inc and United Entertainment Inc, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lovelace premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January where the distribution rights were snapped up by a division of The Weinstein Company, RADiUS-TWC following a warm critical response.

It is one of two recent films about the star of Deep Throat. The other, called Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, stars Malin Akerman.

Both films portray the overnight stardom Lovelace attained when Deep Throat – a psycho sexual porn film - became a cultural phenomenon in 1972, breaking into the mainstream in a way that no blue movie had done before and making an estimated $600 million (£382 million) at the box office.

Directed by Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Lovelace explores the star’s relationship with her husband and manager Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) with Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone playing her parents.

The Independent’s film critic Geoffrey Macnab said: “This biopic manages the feat of remaining entertaining even as its storyline becomes progressively darker. Lovelace is at once an exploitation pic itself (with a healthy smattering of star cameos) and a critique of exploitation movies.”

Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace  

The lawsuit against its distribution says:  “Arrow and its partners were surprised to hear about (the film) 'Lovelace,' because no one had approached Arrow for a license to use any of Arrow's intellectual property.”

Arrow said it approached production company Millennium Films Inc as early as December 2010.

In a December 2011 letter attached to the lawsuit, a lawyer for Millennium wrote Arrow's lawyer saying it was his client's view Lovelace did not violate Arrow's trademarks and copyrights.

The producers had a First Amendment right to use the name and likeness of Lovelace and depict her in connection with the production of Deep Throat, wrote Donald Gordon, the lawyer for Millennium.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the distribution and marketing of Lovelace, an accounting of all profits and revenues from the film, and damages of at least $10 million.

Lovelace, real name Linda Boreman, became an anti-pornography activist in later life. She died in 2002 aged 53 from injuries sustained in a car crash.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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