Restraining Order Denied in 'Lovelace' Suit

NEW YORK CITY—In a move that, considering the parties involved, certainly should have been expected, Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman of the Southern District of New York yesterday denied Arrow Productions' request that the producers of pseudo-biopic Lovelace, scheduled to be released nationwide on Friday, be prohibited from "displaying, distributing, advertising, promoting or in any way marketing" the film. What is unclear, however, since Judge Pitman's Order has yet to be published, is whether the lawsuit, which seeks $10 million in damages, has been dismissed in its entirety.

According to a report on the Entertainment Weekly website, Millennium Films President Mark Gill released a statement claiming, "The suit was completely unwarranted. We believe this case was an insult to the legal safeguards in place maintaining our right to freedom of speech. It was without merit on every level. Arrow Productions’ complaint was transparent about its desire to control discussion about Deep Throat—a film they describe as a 'watershed' in American popular culture—and to hinder projects that would compete with theirs. The law does not support either of these motives."

However, as noted in AVN's report published yesterday, Arrow's lawsuit claims that it tried several times to reach out to several of the producers involved in Lovelace, and even received a response from Donald R. Gordon, an attorney representing some of them, to the effect that his clients asserted that Lovelace did not violate Arrow's copyrights and trademarks in the movie Deep Throat or the actress Linda Lovelace.

Nonetheless, noted Linda Lovelace biographer Eric Danville affirmed that he had given Arrow owner Raymond Pistol the phone number of one of Lovelace's production crew members, with producer David Bertolino asserting that Danville had also attempted, on behalf of Lovelace's producers, to find out how much Bertolino had paid Arrow to use portions of Deep Throat in his play, The Deep Throat Sex Scandal. Further, there is no question that three scenes in Lovelace, including the one where Lovelace has her first "deep throat" orgasm, were copied word-for-word and shot-for-shot from Deep Throat, representing five minutes of the 1972 film's 62-minute running time.

Moreover, the lawsuit gives a detailed history of Arrow's licensing of everything Deep Throat-related, including a deal with a planned production that would have rivaled Lovelace, titled Inferno.

So while there appear to be enough colorable claims in Arrow's lawsuit to prevent it from being dismissed in its entirety, until Judge Pitman's Order is released to the public, the status of the lawsuit remains in question.