Many book readers are quite familiar with the Atlanta bestselling author, Franklin White from his works such as: Fed Up With The Fanny, Cup of Love, (my favorite) Potentially Yours, Til Death Do Us Part, Money For Good, and His new release, Joy & Pain. What one may not be familiar with is White’s ongoing battle with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Alcon Entertainment, LLC and Ice Cube’s film company, Cube Vision. It seems that Cube’s comedy movie, Lottery Ticket, may have actually been taken from White’s 2005 “First Round Lottery Pick“.
White talked to Nik Dace and “The Heat” offering this…
HEAT: What do you say to people who might say your allegation is a hoax to sue these companies? You ‘are’ going up against some pretty heavy hitters.
White: Anytime anyone especially writers, take a huge amount of their time, secluded to create a story with characters and have those characters living not only with them for a period of time until they are finished with their journey, know their characters and storyline inside out. All the facts of our allegations are with their attorneys and they are as clear as day.
HEAT: This has been going on for awhile now. What keeps you motivated to stay the course?
White: Just knowing that what we have presented and all ready proven is true. But what has been kind of mind blowing, is the sense of entitlement of those who feel they can infringe on material that has been out for years without permission- on the premise they have made movies or TV sitcoms before and don’t have to be accountable to anyone (particularly writers) for their own benefit- that’s not how the process works.
HEAT: Wow, we understand there are over 40 alleged infringements through the storyline, characters and even dialog in the movie that you can direct exactly to the pages in your novel.
White: “That’s right-for example, from the start where all three main characters, two males and one female who are the best of friends, stroll through the projects, in the morning and run into someone ruthless they wanted to avoid, all the way through to the part of the movie, where a park is dedicated to the community on the basketball court near the end and I haven’t even mentioned the similarities of both main and secondary characters. What’s the probability of that-I can see a few similarities of projects but over forty of them? I wrote a book about serious issues in the community, shared it with a producer and it was adapted into a comedy.”
THE HEAT has obtained the official Press Release
Franklin White, a nationally recognized bestselling author with twelve novels whose publishers include Simon & Schuster, Kensington Publishing Corporation and Blue Black Press has sent a demand letter and placed on notice Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Alcon Entertainment, LLC, Cube Vision, Inc. and screenwriter Abdul Williams concerning the infringing use of significant portions of his novel First Round Lottery Pick in the motion picture “Lottery Ticket” (the “Film,” U.S. Copyright registration March 16, 2011, PA0001723451). Mr. White wrote First Round Lottery Pick (the “Book,” U.S. Copyright registration TX000715659, in 2005 published by Blue Black Press. White sent a copy of his novel First Round Lottery Pick to Matt Alvarez, President of Cube Vision, Inc and a producer of the film. (years before, Dave Hebenstreit of Cube Vision had requested a copy of a screenplay Mr. White had written; a hip-hop musical in which Cube Vision passed). White is in possession of the cover letter, as well as the USPS Express Mail label reflecting confirmed delivery of the book First Round Lottery Pick to Cube Vision in 2009. It’s important to note, the writer of Lottery Ticket, Abdul Williams prior work history includes adaptation of novels to screen before being assigned the script for Lottery Ticket.
In 2011, Atlanta attorney Rob Hassett sent a demand letter to Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Alcon Entertainment, LLC and Cube Vision, Inc. concerning the infringing use of significant portions of White’s Book in the motion picture “Lottery Ticket”. He received no response to the letter, and entertainment attorney Alan Clarke of Alan S. Clarke & Associates will pursue Mr. White’s claim in federal court.
Although Mr. White’s novel concerns an Urban Drama; concerning a young man along with his male and female friends living in the projects, who is selected as a first round basketball lottery pick, who is forced to deal with his new fame and fortune among those still striving to survive. The Film concerns a comedy in which a young man along with his friends whose life-changing experience comes from lottery winnings forced to deal with his new fortune among those still confined to the projects. It is clear upon a cursory review that characters, plot, dialogue, actions and scenes of the screenplay were derived from the Book. The word “lottery” does not have the same meaning in the two works and is not a key element of White’s claim; the specific plot details, dialogue, setting and characters are the foundation for the infringement claim. Forty-two (42) scenes, passages along with dialog, including ideas were taken from the Book and used in the screenplay and Film which White will be seeking damages.