A Gross and Revolting Sex Film

The Internet and “user-generated [amateur and homemade] content” have decimated much of professional porn, but the so-called “Golden Age of Porn” remains — decades later — more than a matter of historical interest.  The copyright owners of two porn “classics,” Debbie Does Dallas and Deep Throat, have settled their differences via a consent decree, each acknowledging the legitimate copyright interests of the other and each promising not to produce or distribute copies of the other’s film.  VCX, the owner of Debbie‘s copyright, had taken the position that omission of copyright notice from some published copies of Throat placed the latter film in the public domain.  Arrow, successor to Throat’s copyright, demonstrated that the missing notice applied only to pirated copies of the movie.   Throat‘s copyright survives.   Oh, the formalities! 

News summary of the VCX/Arrow settlement.  And another news summary here.

The WKRP link above is a not-so-subtle homage to the radio narration that accompanied the Hindenburg disaster.

Debbie Does Dallas gave rise to a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  The Cheerleaders won the case, in effect.  (The underlying problem was not that consumers would be confused into believing that the Cheerleaders had something to do with sex.  The problem was that advertising for the film suggested that the Cheerleaders had sponsored it, and that the film’s star had at one time been a Cheerleader.)  The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction with an opinion that included the phrase that I’ve pulled for the title of this post.  But an injunction against distributing or exhibiting the film couldn’t and didn’t interefere with Debbie‘s popularity.  Thirty years later, the picture is still making enough money that what’s left of the professional porn industry is fighting over it.

Inside Deep Throat, a terrific 2005 documentary, pulled the curtain back on much of the production of that film.  The news accounts linked above describe how the original producer prevented the film from being “published” within the meaning of copyright law, even while it was in wide threatrical release.  For all intents and purposes, Throat took porn into the “mainstream.”

In today’s National Football League, all of the franchises have cheerleaders, except the Steelers, Bears, Lions, Packers (except during throwback games), Browns, and Giants.