Tribune sues Warren Beatty over Dick Tracy rights

By REUTERS

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 21, 2009 at 4:12 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tribune Media Services has
filed a lawsuit against Academy-award winning director and
actor Warren Beatty to recover motion picture and television
rights to comic strip character Dick Tracy, according to court
documents.

In a Delaware court filing Thursday, Tribune Media
Services, a unit of bankrupt newspaper publisher Tribune Co,
said Beatty "wrongly claims" to have exclusive motion picture
and television rights to the famous police detective
character.

According to court papers, Beatty bought the motion picture
and television rights for Dick Tracy in 1985 and went on to act
in and direct the 1990 film by the same name. The movie won
three Academy awards and its cast included Dustin Hoffman,
Madonna and Al Pacino.

Tribune Co, however, said Beatty had "made no productive
use" of the rights for over a decade, causing them to revert to
Tribune. The company said the economic benefits of the property
was potentially worth millions to the company and its
creditors.

Both parties have been engaged in a legal battle over the
rights since late 2006, according to court documents.

In November, Beatty filed a suit against Tribune Media
Services in California, claiming he had begun work on a Dick
Tracy television special, which should preserve his rights to
the character.

Tribune, in its suit, said the TV special was being
produced solely to preserve Beatty's rights and would not
benefit either party. It said it did not believe Beatty has
begun shooting the special in the manner that would be required
under their agreement.

A lawyer for Beatty was not immediately available.

Tribune filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
December last year hurt by heavy debts and a decline in
advertising.

(Reporting by Santosh Nadgir in Bangalore and Emily Chasan
in New York, editing by Vicki Allen)




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