Happy Days Actors Slam CBS with Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Four cast members of the popular “Happy Days” TV show are suing CBS in Los Angeles County Superior Court after tons of merchandise began being sold with their images, without pay. Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross, Erin Moran, and the estate of Tom Bosley, all have contracts stating that they are to be paid five percent from merchandising net proceeds if their image is used solely and two and a half percent if in a group image. CBS does subtract 50 percent off the top as a handling fee.

The actors, who shot to stardom during the show’s original run from 1974 to 1984, recently were amazed by all the products with their images on them, including “Happy Days” slot machines. Comic books, trading cards, scrapbooks, greeting cards, t-shirts, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, and DVDs with their images kept popping up. There is even a licensing deal in the works for a suite of “Happy Days” lotto games.

“When these slot machines came out, it was like Barnum and Bailey came to town,” said Anson Williams, who played ‘Potsie’ in the show. “We were bombarded with, oh look at these pictures, they’d be all over the country.”

CBS claims it only owes the actors between $8,500 and $9,000 each for products with their images sold during the last four years. The actors in their breach of contract lawsuit show they are due millions of dollars for the products. The parties tried mediation earlier in the year to resolve the dispute with no luck. Ron Howard, known on the show as “Richie Cunningham”, and Henry Winkler, the iconic “Fonzie”, are not involved in the lawsuit and had separate contracts with the studio.

“’Happy Days’ is the type of show that represents the best we can be,” Williams said. “It’s something warm, something tactile when life was good and life was simple. When friends were there and neighbors were neighbors… I think it’s going to ring in peoples’ hearts because it’s going beyond this show.”

“There’s a huge juxtaposition for ‘Happy Days’ to represent the coldness of big business, the wrongdoing of big business and the greed of big business,” Williams continued. “And the idea that they don’t have to abide by contracts, and they can get away with anything as long as they are not caught. And they picked the wrong show.”

In the fast-paced world of Hollywood and television, it benefits to have legal counsel review an actor’s contract, merchandising and licensing agreements, and represent your interests to the big studios. The right Hollywood entertainment lawyer can save actors a lot of headaches and financial pain.

The Law Offices of Spotora & Associates has a wealth of experience representing actors, writers, producers, agencies, and studios. Their Los Angeles entertainment attorneys have counseled many individuals from hit television shows in negotiations, drafting contracts, securing intellectual property rights, and litigating when their client’s rights needed to be upheld. Anthony J. Spotora, Esq., is the managing attorney at Spotora & Associates, and is known for a hands-on approach, giving clients individualized attention, and for his experience from working for the big studios in their legal departments.

For more information:

www.spotoralaw.com

Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C.

1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor

Los Angeles, California 90067-2302

P (310) 556.9641

F (310) 556.9642

Toll Free: (877) 4U-EZ-LEGAL

Anthony Spotora is a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and Los Angeles business attorney. To learn more, visit Spotoralaw.com.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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