‘The Room’ Documentary Makers Win Court Battle With Tommy Wiseau – Variety


A Canadian courtroom has ordered Tommy Wiseau to pay about $700,000 to the makers of an unauthorized documentary about his cult movie, “The Room,” ruling that he thwarted the discharge of the documentary as a result of it was unflattering.

The makers of the documentary, “Room Filled with Spoons,” had been working to launch the challenge in 2017, to capitalize on Sony Footage’ debut of “The Catastrophe Artist,” a biographical film starring James Franco as Wiseau about his 2003 movie “The Room.”

However Wiseau filed go well with and obtained an injunction in Toronto, alleging that the documentary violated his copyright through the use of clips from “The Room” and invaded his privateness. The documentary revealed Wiseau’s origins in Poland, which he had been endeavoring to maintain secret.

After a trial in January, Ontario Superior Court Choose Paul Schabas dominated in favor of the documentary makers on April 23. Schabas denied the copyright claims, discovering that the documentary makers had been entitled to make use of the clips below the doctrine of “honest dealing” (akin to “honest use” within the U.S.).

“In my opinion this motion was introduced for the improper function of stopping the discharge of a documentary disliked by Tommy Wiseau,” Schabas wrote.

Schabas ordered Wiseau to pay $550,000 to the documentary makers — Richard Harper, Fernando Forero McGrath, Mark Racicot and Richard Cities — in misplaced income as a result of thwarted launch. He additionally awarded an additional 200,000 Canadian {dollars} (about $140,000 U.S.) in punitive damages, citing Wiseau’s “oppressive and outrageous” conduct towards the documentary makers.

Schabas discovered that Wiseau had engaged in unhealthy religion negotiations in an effort to forestall the discharge of the documentary.

“In doing so, the plaintiffs had been involved with defending and maximizing the worth of ‘The Catastrophe Artist,’ wherein the plaintiffs have a monetary curiosity,” the choose dominated.

Harper, the author and director of the documentary, instructed Variety on Friday that he’s now searching for distribution, seemingly on a streaming platform.

“This case is a really large deal for any creatives or documentary filmmakers right here in Canada,” Harper stated. “The case was very frivolous.”

“Room Filled with Spoons” makes use of 69 clips from “The Room,” totaling about seven minutes. In response to the ruling, the documentary makers sought to license the clips from Wiseau in 2015, however he demanded extreme sums and insisted on having ultimate approval of the documentary. At one level, he demanded that the movie have “extra positivity by not less than 60 %.”

The documentary makers selected as a substitute to proceed below the protections of “honest dealing,” which permits restricted use of copyrighted materials for the aim of criticism or information reporting. Schabas discovered that whereas the quantity of fabric taken was “not trivial, it is usually not extreme.”

The choose additionally dismissed Wiseau’s declare that the documentary had violated his privateness by disclosing his delivery identify, birthdate and birthplace in Poland, discovering that such data doesn’t meet the excessive customary for a civil offense in Canada.

“This data was obtainable from public sources, which is how the defendants obtained and confirmed it,” Schabas wrote. “Wiseau could also be delicate about this data as a result of he has cultivated an aura of thriller round it, however disclosure of those details will not be, objectively talking, one thing which could be described as ‘extremely offensive.’”

The choose additionally famous that Wiseau had behaved erratically at trial, searching for final minute delays after which failing to point out up for the primary day. After the choose denied a request for Wiseau to testify by videoconference, he confirmed up on the third day of trial and testified.

“A lot of Wiseau’s testimony was merely assertions with out extra,” the choose famous. “He prevented answering many questions and complained in regards to the course of. Wiseau gave prolonged self-serving solutions in re-examination.”


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