Wednesday 28 December 2022

Trailer misrepresents Movie, an unprecedented case for compensation?

On Friday 23-12-2022, The Times reported that Universal Studios is embroiled in a legal action that could cost it millions because they included Ana de Armas in the trailer for Yesterday, Danny Boyle’s 2019 movie about a struggling musician that discovers that no one but him has heard of the Beatles, and exploits that fact to become a superstar.

However, much to the disappointment of at least two fans, the Cuban-Spanish actress's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

Conor Woulfe and Peter Michael Rosza accused Universal of deceptive marketing after they paid $3.99 to rent the film, demanding $5m damages for themselves and others affected.

Unfortunately for Universal, a US Federal judge found it infringed Californian advertising law if a significant number of reasonable viewers could be misled. The case will now proceed to Clark action certification.

By refusing to dismiss the case, the judge ensured that Woulfe and Rosza were not saddled with Universal’s legal fees.

If the parties cannot settle, Universal may decide that this precedent is bad enough for them that they will invest a million dollars to fight it all the way to the end to try to get this precedent overturned.

NamNews Implications:
  • It looks like the court has decided that a movie trailer is a trade description...
  • ...and represents a condition of purchase.
  • By suing for $5m on a $3.99 purchase...
  • ...the case will get wide coverage.
  • Given that many viewers rely on a combination of write-ups and trailers for their choice of a streamed movie purchase/rental...
  • (and are invariably disappointed?)
  • follows that this ruling opens up a whole new way for expressing that disappointment...
  • ...and being compensated for the gap between promise and delivery.
  • Watch this place...

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