hoops Superstar LeBron James And the Rapper Drake and Future are accused in a new $10 million lawsuit of stealing “intellectual property” rights to a movie — “Black Ice” — about a separate old hockey league for black players in Canada, The Post has learned.
Billy Hunter Former long-time chief From the NBA Players Association and a former federal prosecutor, he is seeking a share of the profits from the documentary as well as $10 million in damages, in an explosive complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming he has the exclusive legal rights to make any movie. It transformed the color hockey league that existed from 1895 to the 1930s.
While the defendants were LeBron James, Drake, and Maverick Carter [LeBron’s business partner] They are internationally famous in their fields of basketball and music, and it does not give them the right to steal the intellectual property of others. ”
In the lawsuit, Hunter accuses the defendants, who include the four-time NBA champion James, the “Nice for What” singer, Canadian Drake, and their entertainment companies of making a deal behind his back with the authors of the critically acclaimed book that the documentary is based on—”Black Ice: The Lost History of the Maritimes Color Hockey League, 1895 to 1925.”
The authors, George and Daryl Faustie, are also on the list of defendants, citing a breach of contract for allegedly violating the agreement giving Hunter the rights to a Black Hockey League film and instead working on a side deal with Team LeBron and Drake.
The lawsuit alleges that Hunter paid the authors a total of $265,000 for the film rights to the story.
The documentary, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Hubert Davis, is now underway offered in Toronto International Film Festival September 10th.
“I don’t think they thought the royalties would be litigated. They thought I would go too far. Hunter, 79, who briefly played professional football in the 1960s, told The Post.
In a possible play on words, Hunter’s attorney, Hatcher, said it was “extremely ironic” that James and Drake, who “take their brands” seriously, would be “so arrogant” as to infringe on someone else’s movie rights. James began his career with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
Longtime civil rights activist Hunter, who is black, said he was fascinated by the story of the black-only professional hockey league, which is reminiscent of the Negro professional baseball league in the United States and the push for civil rights to break the color barrier. Hockey is the national sport in Canada.
I just said, ‘Wow. It has to be a movie.
The lawsuit also lists James Entertainment’s companies — The Springhill Company and Uninterrupt Canada — as defendants along with Dreamcrew Entertainment, Drake Entertainment, her birth name Aubrey Graham, Future (legal name Adil Nour), and Fostys publishing. Stryker Indigo and First Take Entertainment, a film production company.
The complaint alleges that when Hunter confronted the authors after hearing about Black Ice’s split deal with James and Drake, Fostis “deceptively claimed” that the “competing project” had not infringed the “exclusive global license” or the film rights because the “documentary” was different. He did not violate the agreement.
The documentary is still “Motion Picture” and “Audiovisual Editing” and
“Any allegation to the contrary is absurd and made in bad faith,” Hotcher said in Hunter’s lawsuit.
Hunter and Fostys entered into an “option agreement” to shoot a movie
From the story “Black Ice” on March 25, 2019. He paid $10,000.
About 18 months later in October 2020, Hunter received a phone call from
George Faustie, who told him that the authors had been contacted by others
The producers who wanted to make a documentary based on the book “Black Ice” – Vinamy Virmani and Scott Moore from First Entertainment.
Representatives of The First Entertainment said on the Zoom call that they were working with James and his company Springhill to obtain the rights to produce the “Black Ice” documentary and had received partial funding from the project’s Canadian Film Fund.
But Hunter “stated unequivocally that this was his passion project, and he had no interest in selling his exclusive option or any portion of his rights” to anyone else, according to the lawsuit.
Hunter, through his attorney, sent a breach of contract letter to the defendants on November 1, 2021, after seeing a story in the Canadian press that Drake would be the executive producer of the documentary Black Ice.
He also paid Fostys $250,000 in February 2022 to retain “exclusive rights worldwide” to any “audiovisual” adaptation of the “Black Ice” story.
Hunter Fostys and their publishing company are accused of breach of contract and the James and Drake teams of “malicious interference.”
The lawsuit says the “uninterrupted defendants” – LeBron’s team – offered Fostys $100,000 for the “really selected” rights to produce a documentary on the Black Ice story and agreed to pay 3% of the film’s total budget to the authors.
“The defendants relentlessly paid those sums to induce the authors to infringe
their agreement with the plaintiff,” Hunter’s lawsuit alleges.
Court papers said James’ team then requested the support of additional investors, specifically Dreamcrew Entertainment, a joint venture between Drake and Future.
“The uninterrupted actions of the Dreamcrew defendants and the defendants were and remain so
Deliberate and carried out for the purpose of violating the legal rights of the plaintiff. Both the defendants in Dreamcrew Defendants and the defendants who did not drop out acted maliciously as evidenced by the exaggerated price they paid for the duplicate option,” Hunter’s lawsuit alleges.
Representatives James, Drake, Fostis and their companies had no immediate comment.
Hunter, who resides in Harlem, had a falling with NBA Players Association. He was ousted in 2013 after serving as union director since 1996, and the two sides reached a secret settlement after he opposed his replacement.