Passport International Productions, a North Hollywood company that produced an eight-DVD set about Elvis Presley, has been ordered to pay $2.8 million in damages for using copyrighted footage without permission.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, SOFA Entertainment and songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller filed the copyright infringement suit against Passport and company owner Dante Pugliese in 2002, according to a February 15th statement from EPE.
The DVD set, "The Definitive Elvis," included Presley footage from "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Ed Sullivan Rock & Roll Classics," of which SOFA owns the copyrights, and home movies and specials owned by EPE.
Elvis Presley Enterprises is a subsidiary of CKX, the Robert Sillerman-owned company that also runs all things "American Idol."
Passport appealed the case under the fair use defense, claiming the set was a documentary of Presley’s life, but the court disagreed.
"It is reassuring to know that the courts have seen fit to uphold our copyrights, thereby putting unscrupulous parties on notice that historic performances from "The Ed Sullivan Show" cannot be used by those who prefer to steal rather than to license," SOFA’s Andrew Solt said in a written statement.
The DVD collection was released in 2002 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The King’s death.