Drake and LeBron James are being sued for $10 million after being accused of stealing the rights to the name of their upcoming documentary about a segregated hockey league, as the two seek to exploit a loophole designed to protect the intellectual property.
TMZ reports that the two are being sued by former head of the NBA players union, Billy Hunter, who claims he owns the exclusive legal rights of any movie produced about Canada’s Colored Hockey League which formed back in 1895 and was in operation until 1925.
Former Head of NBA Players Union Claims He Owns Exclusive Movie Rights To Drizzy And LeBron Documentary
“They thought I would go away. They gambled,” Hunter said, according to the New York Post.
Hunter says Drake and LeBron went behind his back and signed a deal with Darril and George Fosty, the authors of Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes – the book their documentary is based upon – according to the lawsuit.
Looked who stopped by Harlem office to phone bank! Billy Hunter former ED the NBA Association! pic.twitter.com/ANxDUpljm9
— Michele (@MicheleLWatley) April 17, 2016
Hunter added that he paid the Fosty brothers $265,000 for exclusive rights for any movie made that was based upon the book.
Drizzy and LeBron are claiming they never violated any agreement because their film is a documentary and not a movie.
Drake, LeBron Try To Exploit Loophole In Lawsuit, Hunter Seeks $10 Million In Damages
Now, Hunter is saying that claim is “absurd and made in blind faith,” and is seeking a portion of the profits from the documentary on top of an additional $10 million in damages.
Also listed in the lawsuit are rapper Future and James’ business partner Maverick Carter, per Fox News.
Meanwhile, Darril Fosty calls Hunter’s lawsuit “unwarranted and frivolous” and told TMZ that they would be responding via their lawyers.
Documentary Features History Of Black Hockey Players In Canada
The documentary, which was announced in July 2021, is executively produced by Drake and LeBron, and “spotlights the historical marginalization of Black hockey players from the early pioneers of the Colored Hockey League in Maritimes Canada to today’s National Hockey League and its paltry number of Black players.”
It’s expected to premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival this Saturday.
Hunter’s lawsuit cites the intellectual property rights to the film, which refers to the legal rights given to the inventor or creator to protect his invention or creation for a certain period of time, according to the legal definition of the term.