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Sam Raimi wins injunction against unauthorized "Evil Dead 4"

Welcome to our Hollywood entertainment law blog. We plan to use this as a platform for offering readers interesting news, general insights and relevant information regarding the legal aspects of the entertainment business.

Although we cannot predict what news stories will come to be the talk of the bar at the Chateau Marmont or the patio at The Ivy, it's safe to say we will eventually touch on intellectual property elements like trademarks and copyrights, contract law, merchandising and licensing issues and endorsements.

Now, law and the legal system may not be the first thing you think of when the entertainment industry comes to mind, but it's just a fact that there is a strong legal backbone to just about every deal made (or un-made) in Southern California. For proof, let's look in a very unlikely place: Sam Raimi's 1979 cult classic "The Evil Dead."

Raimi's campy film about an impossibly square-jawed hero fighting off hordes of the undead found a strong audience on video and eventually spawned two sequels. Unfortunately for Raimi, it recently almost spawned a fourth installment -- a fourth installment that he in no way authorized or agreed to participate in.

The issue here is that the company behind the would-be fourth installment (working title: "The Evil Dead 4: Consequences") claimed that Raimi had abandoned his trademark rights with regard to "The Evil Dead." It pointed out that he had said in a 2000 interview that he was done with the franchise, and by its count, had let at least 20 other films had used the phrase "The Evil Dead" somewhere in their titles without any objection.

This dispute fizzled out, though, when the company did not respond to Raimi's request for an injunction in a timely manner, allowing Raimi to win by default. The company has said it plans to hire new legal representation and renew its fight, but there has been little action on that front so far.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Saim Raimi Blocks Unauthoprized 'Evil Dead' Sequel," Eriq Gardner, Aug. 28, 2012

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