A 98-page opinion was issued last week by a Tennessee federal judge that dismissed a lawsuit from Grammy-winning singer Sam Moore against The Weinstein Company over the 2008 film, “Soul Men,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moore brought the lawsuit in 2009 alleging that the film about two African-American soul singers was a thinly-veiled rip-off of his part in the popular Memphis Soul singing duo Sam & Dave, whose hits included the 1967 song “Soul Man.”
The case became contentious even by Hollywood brass-knuckle standards and featured such peculiarities as Jackson testifying in a deposition that he often doesn’t watch the documentary films he’s agreed to voice. The case also touched upon so many burning legal controversies in entertainment law, it could easily serve as a primer for anyone considering the field.
Moore said his publicity rights were violated because the film was allegedly too similar to his career. Further, he alleged he’s referred to as “Sam Moore ‘The Legendary Soul Man’” and that the film violated his trademarks. He also argued that the film’s soundtrack was passed off as a project he endorsed and constituted unfair competition to his own musical works. And Moore believed that because the film was close enough to his life experiences, the divergences (the characters swear, hurl racial epithets, brandish weapons, etc.) put him in a false light.