Books, Copyright, Pornography, Sex, Trademarks

Because No One Saw This Coming: A Copyright Suit Over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Porn

I’ve committed what is perhaps considered one of the cardinal sins of womanhood since 2011: I haven’t read a single page of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (affiliate link). But with all of the fanfare over the books’ overtly sexual themes, and given the fact that people are now naming their children after the BDSM-loving characters, I’m thinking about picking up a copy of the first in the series. Or, you know, maybe instead of doing all that reading, I’ll just kick back and watch the latest Fifty Shades of Porn flick.

“I’m completely shocked that there’s Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired porn,” said no one ever. Oh, come on, everyone knew that something like this was going to happen. Seriously, from the passages that were read to me by friends to convince me to read the scintillating tale, the series is essentially a softcore porn composition — “mommy porn,” if you will. So who really gives a damn if it gets turned into hardcore porn?

Universal Studios, that’s who, because the company owns the movie rights to the books. The motion picture empire brought a copyright infringement suit against Smash Pictures, a porn production company, earlier this week in federal court. Let’s check out the allegations, which our readers are bound to enjoy….

According to Courthouse News Service, the Universal Studios suit was jointly filed with Fifty Shades Ltd., the British company that owns the novels’ copyright. They’re both represented by Andrew Thomas, a partner at Jenner & Block who focuses on media and entertainment litigation relating to copyright and trademark issues.

The name of the porno in question is “Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation” — because the books weren’t enough of an XXX adaptation as is, with their graphic depictions of sex and spanking. From the complaint:

Beginning with the first XXX Adaptation’s opening scene and continuing throughout the next 2½ hours of the film, Smash Pictures copies without reservation from the unique expressive elements of the Fifty Shades trilogy, progressing through the events of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and into the second book, “Fifty Shades Darker.” The first XXX adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple.

To make matters worse, Smash Pictures has a subsidiary company called Luv Moves that manufactures sex toys, which released a presumable DVD/dildo package called “Fifty Shades of Pleasure: Play Kit & Movie,” and allegedly used Fifty Shades’ trademarks to market the sex toys.

According to Reuters, the companies seek an injunction, and profits from sales of the movies, which they claim are trademark and copyright infringements. But really, Universal and Fifty Shades Ltd. should admit they’re pissed over not being the first in the marketplace with the Christian Grey vibrator and call it a day.

(If you’re interested, you can read the complaint on the next page.)

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