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'Deep Throat' production company loses 'Lovelace' copyright case

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The owners of the rights to the famed pornographic film "Deep Throat" have lost a lawsuit accusing the producers of the 2013 biopicture "Lovelace" of copyright infringement.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in the federal court in Manhattan, in a ruling made public Tuesday, dismissed Arrow Productions Ltd's $10 million lawsuit against the producers of the film, starring Amanda Seyfried, and its distributor, The Weinstein Company.

The ruling came more than a year after the judge previously declined to block the release of "Lovelace," an R-rated biographical film detailing the life of "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace.

While Arrow Productions complained that "Lovelace" copied three key scenes from the 1972 film, Griesa concluded that the recreation constituted fair use under federal copyright law.

"Here, the court finds that defendants' use, or recreation, of the three scenes from 'Deep Throat' constitutes transformative use, adding a new, critical perspective on the life of Linda Lovelace and the production of 'Deep Throat,'" Griesa wrote.

The judge also dismissed other claims by Arrow, including trademark infringement and trademark dilution. The company held trademarks for "Deep Throat" and "Linda Lovelace."

Evan Mandel, a lawyer for Arrow Productions, said it was "reviewing the decision and considering an appeal."

Along with The Weinstein Company, the defendants included production companies Millennium Films Inc and United Entertainment Inc.

Tom Ferber, the defendants' lawyer, said his clients believed "intellectual property law, recognizing the importance of critical biographies like 'Lovelace,' supports our position that the film infringed no one's rights, and we are gratified that the court has agreed with us."

"Lovelace" tells the tale of the formative years of porn star Linda Lovelace (born Linda Boreman), played by Seyfried, her abusive marriage to Chuck Traynor, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and her work on "Deep Throat."

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 and opened in limited release in the United States that August.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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