With the sustainable trend of mockumentary filmmaking, there are ongoing film lawsuits based on defamation of character, especially when an actual person (not a fictional character) is depicted in an unfavorable light.
If you need the perfect example of this legal phenomenon, look no further than Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat.
As one of the most popular mockumentaries to hit theaters, this film has seen an onslaught of legal battles.
Keep reading to find out how to protect your film or television project.
The Borat Lawsuit Example
Even though there is more than one “Borat lawsuit,” the most prevalent one was the claim made by two university students.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve witnessed drunken college students making racially insensitive and sexist remarks.
So what’s the problem from a legal point of view?
The students sued for defamation, claiming that the producers gave them alcohol in order to promote the heinous behavior.
Even though the students signed a waiver, there was still grounds for a suit.
From having the scenes in question removed from the theatrical release to erasing the embarrassing footage from the DVD, the college students and their lawyers sued for every possible emotional and financial restitution.
The result: the filmmakers won.
What This Lawsuit Means for You
Even though no money was awarded and the film’s footage remained intact, it’s important for film and television professionals to avoid lawsuits and satisfy E&O insurance carriers.
Even if you don’t work with the mockumentary format, film lawsuits come from every direction, from copyright claims from popular franchises to defamation suits.
This is why it’s so important for film and television professionals to work with an expert legal team that protects their work.
There are a number of ways to stop lawsuits from liquidating your budget and damaging your project’s success, including…
that provide an all-inclusive bundle of reports, searches, and opinion letters to secure your next television or film project. (This is your most comprehensive and cost-effective option.)
that provide comprehensive searches for prior use of your title for other projects. (Ideal for satisfying your E&O Carrier).
that breaks down your script scene by scene to identify any aspects that might create costly legal conflicts.
that document your ownership of copyrighted material, saving you from avoidable legal expenses and potential harassment of third-party claims.
that determine whether distribution of your project might lead to legal exposure due to an oversight in rights acquisition.