Porn company sues Lovelace producers over Deep Throat footage

Peter Sarsgaard and Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace Peter Sarsgaard and Amanda Seyfried star in Lovelace

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The company that owns the rights to 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat has taken legal action to block the release of the new movie Lovelace.

The biopic stars Amanda Seyfried and is based on the formative years of adult film actress Linda Lovelace.

Arrow Productions Ltd says the film, due out in the US on Friday, uses more than five minutes of unlicensed footage from Deep Throat.

They also claim the title Lovelace is used "without licence or permission".

Arrow filed a $10m (£6.5m) copyright action at the District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Its legal action said the company "and its partners were surprised to hear about Lovelace because no one had approached Arrow for a licence to use any of Arrow's intellectual property".

The action seeks an injunction against the distribution and marketing of Lovelace, an accounting of all profits and revenues from the film, and damages of at least $10m.

The film is scheduled to be released in the UK on 23 August.

Representatives for the defendants - who include Millennium Films Inc, United Entertainment Inc and the film's distributor, The Weinstein Company - did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

First Amendment

Arrow claims it first approached Millennium Films in December 2010.

In a letter dated December 2011, a lawyer for Millennium wrote to Arrow's lawyer saying it was his client's view that Lovelace did not violate Arrow's trademarks and copyrights.

The company cited their First Amendment right to use the name and likeness of Linda Lovelace and depict her in connection with the film Deep Throat, wrote Millennium lawyer Donald Gordon.

According to US copyright law, some footage from the porn film could be shown under the terms of "fair use". However, determinations are made on a case-by-case basis.

Four factors are typically considered: The purpose of use (commercial or non-commercial); the nature of copyrighted work (factual or creative); the effect of usage on the value of the protected work; and the amount and substantiality of work used.

Amanda Seyfried and James Franco in Lovelace James Franco appears in Lovelace as Playboy owner Hugh Hefner

Lovelace, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, chronicles porn star Lovelace's abusive marriage to Chuck Traynor, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and how she came to work on Deep Throat.

It also explores her relationship with her mother Dorothy, played by Sharon Stone.

Deep Throat, the first "porno" widely seen in cinemas, made an estimated $600m (£382m).

The film drew middle class audiences to the cinema and helped create today's hard-core adult entertainment industry.

Born Linda Boreman, Lovelace became an anti-pornography campaigner in later life.

She died in a car accident in 2002 at the age of 53.

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