| Disney sues horse-racing announcer's estate over 'Secretariat' |
The family of a CBS announcer who called the 1973 Triple Crown has said the 2010 film used his voice without permission
Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Home Entertainment are looking to protect the 2010 film Secretariat from purported claims from the estate of the horse-racing announcer who called the race where the legendary horse won the 1973 Triple Crown. Disney has filed a lawsuit in New York that seeks a declaratory judgment that its film doesn't violate the publicity rights of fomer CBS track announcer Charles Anderson, who died in 1979. According to the studio, his heirs have spent two years since the film came out, arguing that Anderson's voice was used in the film without authorization.
Disney says that Anderson's voice was not used in Secretariat. The defendants couldn't be reached for comment, but from the looks of the complaint, it appears as though they might be prepared to argue that there should be protection anyway since the races were originally called by him. No word on whether the film actually used Anderson's words, but the plaintiffs add that the film is entitled to First Amendment protection as an expressive work.
Anderson's family is also purportedly alleging that the DVD and Blu-Ray included bonus materials that included historical footage. But Disney and Buena Vista say the footage was properly licensed from CBS Broadcasting and any publicity rights or copyrights belonged to CBS as part of a work-for-hire agreement.
by Eriq Gardner