Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is among those being sued $10 million for allegedly stealing “intellectual property rights” to the film “Black Ice.”
In addition, Maverick Carter, James’ business partner, along with rappers Drake and Future are defendants in the lawsuit. “Black Ice” is about a segregated hockey league for black players in Canada, per the New York Post. Billy Hunter, former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), served the lawsuit.
Hunter, 79, filed the lawsuit to the Manhattan state Supreme Court. The lawsuit claims that Hunter holds “the exclusive legal rights to produce any film about the Colored Hockey League that existed from 1895 to the 1930s.” Hunter is seeking shared profits and $10 million in damages.
“While the defendants LeBron James, Drake and Maverick Carter are internationally known and renowned in their respective fields of basketball and music,” the lawsuit reads, “it does not afford them the right to steal another’s intellectual property.”
LeBron James Allegedly Cut a Deal With Original Authors of “Black Ice”
Hunter accuses the defendants, which include James, of cutting a deal under the table with authors of the book that the documentary is based on. The book is titled “Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925. George and Darril Fosty authored the book. The lawsuit says Hunter paid the authors $265,000 to own the movie rights to the story. Both Fosty’s are defendants in the lawsuit. Hunter cites a breach of contract.
“They thought I would go away,” Hunter said. “They gambled.”
The Fosty’s counter, however, says the documentary does not violate Hunter’s “exclusive worldwide license.” Hunter, meanwhile, does not see it that way.
“A documentary is still a ‘motion picture’ and an ‘audiovisual adaptation’ and any claim to the contrary is absurd and made in bad faith,” Hunter’s lawyer said.
The documentary will play at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10.