January 22, 2019
Law 360 recently reported that Kultur International Films Inc. and its operator, Dennis Hedlund, have been sued by Shakespeare Globe Trust for refusing to stop selling videos of its productions even though Kultur’s licensing agreement is expired. The productions at issue include well known Shakespeare plays such as “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
The claim filed by the Globe Trust states that Kultur’s licensing deal expired in May 2017 and includes copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The Globe Trust evolved from the Globe Theatre originally built in 1599. The Theatre closed but was later revived. The Shakespeare Globe Trust was subsequently established in 1970. The Globe Trust operates the Theatre and, according to the claim filed by the Trust, owns the copyrights and trademarks of the recorded productions.
The claim asserts that Kultur had the “exclusive” right to “manufacture, distribute, sell, license, rent and exploit certain Globe works” and that the Globe Trust provided Kultur with its 60-day notice of termination of the license agreement in March 2017. Globe Trust also says they sent notices and letters regarding the expired license in the months following May 2017 but their request for Kultur to cease selling the videos was met with resistance.
Dennis Hedlund allegedly threatened the Globe Trust, stating that if the Trust makes him “angry”, he will “really bring down the market” by selling the Globe Trust works for $2.99.