I Object on the Grounds of Stupidity

Okay, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for TV shows about lawyers.  Not a one of them -- from Perry Mason to Boston Legal -- is actually grounded in the true reality of the legal profession.  But, hey, it's television.  Hollywood.  Make-believe.  It's not designed to do much more than just provide a little entertainment.  So it would be wrong to be too critical of the factual shortcomings of legal shows.  Right?...

Well, at least, that's what I thought till I got a sampling of the new NBC show, Outlaw.  If you haven't heard about this one, the premise is that an ultra conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice resigns his position to become a courtroom lawyer fighting for the little guys who can't afford it.  Yeah, right.  You still with me?  We continue...

Okay, if we let that one fly, how about this:  His first client is the guy whose death penalty execution he helped stay as a justice on the Supreme Court.  Oh, please!

Even star Jimmy Smits -- whom I like as an actor -- can't rescue this one from a serious disorder in the court.  Can anyone actually watch this and not think to himself that this is just too silly?...even for TV?

Hey, I've got an idea for a new show:  The President of the United States resigns his position to teach ceramics to inner city elementary school children.  Any takers?

It Doesn't Hurt to Be Will Smith's Kid

The music industry is a rough business.  Many try; few succeed.  Well, 9-year-old Willow Smith has already hit the big time by signing a recordning contract with the Roc Nation entertainment company.  Not too shabby for a kid who hasn't even hit puberty yet.

Oh, did I mention she's the child of celebrities Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith?...Yeah, that little fact doesn't exactly hurt.

I'm assuming Willow may also benefit from having family contacts that put her in touch with the right agent or manager.  Those can be important parts of any person's career, and the music biz is tough enough without having to go into it unrepresented by knowledgeable profressionals.

Now, if you or I try to break into the music industry -- and our parents don't happen to have any sway in the entertainment world -- just keep in mind that more than a few folks have been burned by signing contracts the ramifications of which they didn't fully understand.  All I'm saying is Willow, I assume, has someone looking out for her interest.  What about the rest of you budding music professionals?

Cage?s Suit Tossed

Actor Nicolas Cage has suffered a legal setback in his lawsuit against his former business manager, Samuel J. Levin.  Mr. Cage?s suit was dismissed by the court this week.  A counterclaim by Mr. Levin was also dismissed.

 

An Associated Press story states that the heart of the controversy is Mr. Cage?s claim that Mr. Levin mismanaged the actor?s affairs, leading to a serious financial collapse for Mr. Cage.  The suit sought damages of $20 million.  Mr. Levin countersued for unpaid fees, and, according to the A.P., claims Mr. Cage simply didn?t listen to his business manager?s advice.

Wasn't I Just Talking About This?

Here I was, in my last post, musing about intellectual property rights that can be the root of battles in Hollywood divorces, and along come the news of actor Michael Douglas and his ex-wife, Diandra Douglas, now sparring in a New York court over who's entitled to what from Mr. Douglas's next movie.  Mr. Douglas has a sequel to Wall Street coming out next month, and Ms. Douglas has sued, claiming she's entitled to half his earnings from that film based on their agreement from their divorce in the years 2000.

The lawyers for the parties, of course, each claim the other side doesn't unstand the agreement.  Well, we'll leave that to them and the court to decide.  But, kind of like I was saying last week, when you're in a creative field, there's stuff that can be fought over in divorce that people in other fields just don't have to worry about.

You?d Think She?d Have Seen This Coming

Patricia Arquette, the actor who plays the clairvoyant ?Medium? on the TV show of that name, is calling it quits with her husband, actor Thomas Jane.  According to news reports, Ms. Arquette has filed for divorce in Los Angeles.

 

I think it?s always sad to see a relationship end ? even when I don?t personally know the people involved.  And our legal system doesn?t always make it easy for people to formally part, which only makes things worse for everyone.

 

But one important thing creative people ought to keep in mind when they?re going through a divorce.  Intellectual property is property, meaning it?s an asset that needs to be distributed when family assets are divvied up.  So, if an artist has, for example, written a book during the marriage, the property rights to that book are an asset that could become an issue of contention when the divorcing couple starts quibbling over who gets to take what.  That?s especially possible in community property states such as California.

 

I?m not suggesting Ms. Arquette or Mr. Jane have or will have anything to fight over.  I sincerely hope that doesn?t happen.  It?s just that the news of their parting sparked these thoughts about the intellectual property of people in the arts/entertainment industry, and I thought I?d share them.