FOX and record company take on the ultimate battle for the Empire

2015-03-25 15:00

Cape Town – FOX (Dstv 125 / StarSat 131) is suing to keep the name Empire of its breakout new TV series after a real-life record company, Empire Distribution Inc told FOX it wants $8m for "potential trademark infringement".

According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX has now decided to sue Empire Distribution Inc, saying FOX has no intention of allowing anyone to leverage Empire’s success for their own unwarranted financial gain.

The trouble started when Empire Distribution Inc. on 16 February sent FOX a lawyer’s letter demanding $8m, saying Empire the TV show is "tarnishing" them because it is about "a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends".

Then on 6 March they sent FOX another letter, saying FOX could pay them $5m but must now include their artists as "regular guest stars" on the show – the same show they said is "tarnishing" them.

FOX says Empire Distribution is commercially weak and that a Google search for "empire record label" only their website on the 7th page of results.

"Unfortunately, success today can often make creators a target for a myriad of baseless legal claims," says FOX’s legal team. "They hope you will just pay a little something from that success to make them go away."

Empire has been a huge success for FOX worldwide and a massive programming coup for FOX International Channels (FIC) and FIC Africa. It secured a multiyear output deal which besides the hit drama gives it the broadcasting rights to Backstrom, Legends, Wayward Pines and several other 20th Century FOX TV studio shows which will now be seen in South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice’s DStv as well as On Digital Media and StarTimes Media SA’s StarSat on channels like FOX and FOX Crime.

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