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Old 04-19-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Exclamation Update: The "Happy Days" Lawsuit Continues...

"Happy Days" Actors Prep Lawsuit Against CBS Over Merchandising Revenues
by Chris Harnick
posted Apr 19th 2011



The cast of "Happy Days" aren't too, well, happy, with CBS.

Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross, Erin Moran and the estate of the late Tom Bosley are suing CBS over merchandising revenues. According to CNN, the actors claim CBS has cut them out of money they are owed for products such as T-shirts, comic books, dolls and DVDs.

The actors say that under their contracts, they were supposed to be paid 5 percent of the net proceeds if their sole image appeared on the product and 2.5 percent if their image appeared in a group.







Jon Pfeiffer, the attorney for the "Happy Days" actors, said he expects to file a lawsuit against CBS today.

"The issue is the five cast members of 'Happy Days' were not paid for the royalties for their name and likeness," Pfeiffer told CNN.

"That being the use of their picture, use of their name in slot machines, in games, in greeting cards, in t-shirts, anything where you saw a 'Happy Days' face of a character, they were not paid for that."







CBS told the actors that they are owed between $8,500 and $9,000 for the last four years, most of the revenue coming from "Happy Days" slot machines that bear their likenesses. However, the actors claim they are owed millions of dollars.

According to Pfeiffer, attempts at mediation between his clients and CBS have failed.

"We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue," CBS told CNN via an emailed statement,

http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/04/19/ha...t-lawsuit-cbs/

Last edited by JamesG : 06-05-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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What about Henry and Ron? I know they probably don't need the money, but they should've joined their castmates in support.

From what I know the big issue with DVD's is that since they weren't even dreamed of in the 70s, nothing regarding the sale of episodes/seasons was included in the cast contracts back then.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoliUSA
From what I know the big issue with DVD's is that since they weren't even dreamed of in the 70s, nothing regarding the sale of episodes/seasons was included in the cast contracts back then.
Right, but the whole issue is merchandise bearing their likenesses. Even if the actual episodes themselves are out of the question (which they may or may not be), their pictures are still on the packaging and such.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:59 AM   #4
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WOW. I hope this all works out for the best!!
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anglemark10
Right, but the whole issue is merchandise bearing their likenesses. Even if the actual episodes themselves are out of the question (which they may or may not be), their pictures are still on the packaging and such.


You're right, I forgot about the pics on the DVD cases.


Here's another article with a short video interview of the cast:

"Happy Days" actors claim CBS cheated them out of fees (CNN Money)
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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Another cast video interview from "Today":
http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/04/22/ha...t-against-cbs/
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:17 PM   #7
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CBS Fires Back at "Happy Days" Lawsuit
June 24, 2011
By Scott Zamost, CNN Special Investigations Unit



CBS says stars of the hit TV show "Happy Days", who are suing the company for unpaid merchandising revenue, don't have a case.

The company, which owns the iconic show, said in a 15-page response to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, that the case is "a garden-variety breach of contract action, nothing more."

"However, rather than simply seek what they are purportedly owed under their contracts, plaintiffs are attempting to generate a lucrative litigation windfall by riddling their complaint with unsupported and overreaching causes of action" for fraud and breach of good faith.

CBS said this was "all done in a transparent attempt to introduce the specter of punitive damages" in the case.







Four members of the cast -- Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams and Erin Moran -- as well as the estate of Tom Bosley, sued CBS in April, claiming they have not been paid for what they're owed in connection with the worldwide sale of "Happy Days" merchandise.

"Happy Days" was originally on the air from 1974 to 1984. Bosley died in October.



Under their contracts, the actors were supposed to receive 5% of net proceeds, or 2 1/2% if their images were used in a group.

In exclusive interviews with CNN earlier this year, the four cast members said they decided to move forward after discovering "Happy Days" slot machines were popping up in casinos around the country in 2008.

"When these slot machines came out, it was like Barnum and Bailey came to town," Williams told CNN. "We were bombarded with, oh look at these pictures, they'd be all over the country."

The actors said when they couldn't resolve their differences with CBS during mediation earlier this year, they decided to file suit.






The lawsuit says the show:

"epitomizes what is best in America with the Cunningham family exemplifying the best of what a family can be. As will be proven at trial, defendants' actions epitomize what is worst in corporate America, exemplifying the worst business practices."

It claims that CBS "adopted a 'don't ask, don't pay' policy. If you don't ask, then we don't pay.'" The suit asks for $10 million in damages.






However, CBS says there is no evidence of fraud, and the actors "offer no basis for their vague allegation that defendants did not intend to pay merchandising royalties to plaintiffs at the time the parties entered into the agreements."

"Instead, all plaintiffs can allege is that defendants ultimately failed to pay," which is "insufficient as a matter of law to show fraud."






The company disputed that it "concealed" its obligation to pay merchandising revenues. Instead, it said the actors "were simply ignorant of, or slept upon their own rights. That cannot serve as a basis for a fraud claim."

CBS said in a statement that the actors "are owed royalties from the merchandising of 'Happy Days' and have, in fact, been working with their representatives for some time to see that they are paid what they are due."






Neither Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director who played Richie Cunningham, nor Henry Winkler, who played The Fonz, are part of the lawsuit.

Howard had no comment.

Winkler, who told CNN earlier this year that he supported the actors in their case, said he was paid for merchandising, including his image and voice on the slot machines. He would not say how much.

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-24/e...?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:16 PM   #8
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Kinda makes you wonder if maybe CBS didn't want to pay the other actors. Just Howard and Winkler.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:44 PM   #9
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I think that this is one of the main reason why we will not see anymore of the happy days dvds release because of this, and i have said to myself when CBS joined paramount as one that they were going to make some changes and the same exact issues could be happening with laverne and shirley as well as with mork and mindy
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:16 AM   #10
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I'm with Monika. I hope they can resolve this issue as soon as possible.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:36 PM   #11
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i was just watching on you tube the cast of happy days talking about the issues thats going on with the money that they should be getting as using there photos on the product, and this reminds me in somewhat of a way of whats going on with the NFL how every body wants there cut, and i am asking myself, where is gary marshal in all of this he did create the show, i suprized he is not getting involved in this matter, this looks bad, which was why i was saying along time ago that when cbs became one with paramount things were going to change and based on the cast demaning there cut, i do not think that the rest of the series will be released its ashame but what can we do nothing
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:12 PM   #12
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What a slap in the face to these people. I think the laws need to be changed so that actors can get residuals from DVD sales in addition to syndication and having their likeness on items.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:00 PM   #13
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It all depends on what was included in their contracts when deals were initially negotiated. They didn't anticipate home video back then, so that wasn't a part of their contracts. You can't retroactively go back and add that stuff in. These days, there probably are provisions in contracts to cover such DVD releases.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:43 AM   #14
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Just like what is going on in the NFL they better get it together
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #15
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Default CBS Settles Case with Happy Days Cast Members

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Cast members of the classic TV show, Happy Days settled a suit with CBS after former cast members sued CBS Studios (NYSE:CBS) last April in search of $10 million in profits for Happy Days Merchandise. Cast members received between $6,000 and $6,500.

CBS declined to comment Wednesday, but the network said in an earlier statement that it was aware of the issue and was seeking a resolution. "We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue," it said in April.

CBS has a potential upside of 5.5% based on a current price of $28.77 and an average consensus analyst price target of $30.35.

CBS is currently above its 50-day moving average (MA) of $27.10 and above its 200-day of $22.22.

In the last five trading sessions, the 50-day MA has climbed 0.19% while the 200-day MA has risen 0.79%.

CBS Corporation is a multimedia company that operates broadcasting, television production, and publishing businesses. The Company operates television and radio stations, produces and syndicates television programs, publishes books, provides online content as well as provides outdoor advertising.
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