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David Poland

By David Poland

"Now they're making millions but have only paid us 15 lei [around

The Borat lawsuit situation is real… but it has nothing to do with morality.
The headline of this entry is from a Daily Mail story about the people of Glod, where, apparently, SBC, Larry Charles & Co shot the Kazakh sequences of Borat. Of course, I took the comment out of context. The whole quote is:

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25 Responses to “"Now they're making millions but have only paid us 15 lei [around”

  1. JWEgo says:

    Ummm unless you have knowledge don’t share your opinion.
    My guess is that these people signed releases that allows Fox to use their name and likeness anyway they feel fit for the 3 pounds. If they don’t like it they shouldn’t have signed it. YOU are assuming that because you read it in a British gossip rag it must be true.
    There should be NO sympathy for people who sign shit and then whine.
    And the two fratboys are not heroes and have been condemned by their frat.
    THINK then Speak David sir.
    I am Jeff Wells’ Ego.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    Don’t you have anything better to do on a Saturday night than post assholery on a blog, Spammy?

  3. Lota says:

    Spam in many countries in the world I am sure 100% of the population has no idea what “a release” is and, therefore, are being taken advantage of by those from Hollywood (or London) who do.
    3 pound Sterling is less than minimum wage, and if true, is pretty grievous.

  4. Lota says:

    By the way. If Daily Mail broke the story it is likely to have many mistakes in it. The Mirror is crap but they get more details right than the Mail or The SUn.

  5. I don’t quite agree. First, the First Amendment is irrelevant here, because it only is concerned with what the U.S. Government can or can not do with respect to restricting speech. This footage was shot in Romania. The U.S. Constitution has nothing to say about what anyone can do in another country.
    Second, they did get paid. Not much, by our standards — but our standards are different. I think they should have, and should still be, paid more, since the filmmakers are making bank.
    But I think this does have to do with morality. It’s immoral to lie to people, take advantage of their hospitality, and then set them up to look like idiots for the rest of the world to laugh at. Even if you don’t want to couch it in terms of morality, its pretty ugly behavior. The fact that these are destitute people makes it even more unseemly.

  6. David Poland says:

    Spam – As usual, you miss the note entirely.
    Fraud is the accusation. Fraud can not only void a contract, but contract law does allow for the idea of fairness ahead of literalism in many instances.
    Your “they have releases and can do as they like” take is an idiotic non-argument.
    If Fox wants to spend a lot of money and time shutting down lawsuits, they can go that route. Or they could spend a few hundred thousand to make this go away and to turn the press positive.
    My comments don’t argue that Fox will lose in a court… though they could. The footage suggests that people were tricked. I do not see a lot of actual damage. But given the cash flow, I do think a lot of aggravation and bad press could be avoided – not to mention a much more serious problem if even just one crazy judge raises the bar and puts them in legal harms way – if they just made a gesture.
    I suggest you do as you suggest… think… and try to think past the quarter inch in front of your face. You might enjoy it.

  7. David Poland says:

    P.S. Pot, Kettle, Spammy.
    What do you think you know about those frat boys? And besides the national office of there frat, do you really think that any college kid is anything but congratulatory? Really?

  8. JWEgo says:

    I agree with you that fraud is always an argument to try to blow up a contract. It sounds like you have been involved in a frivolous suit or three. But for a fraud to prevail, it has to almost always be prima facie.
    The real argument goes somewhat like this-
    “Did you get given this agreement?”
    “Did you read the argument like you were supposed to?”
    “I guess but….”
    “Yes or No”
    “Okay and then you saw the part where it says you get three pounds and they get to use this footage any way they see fit in perpetuity throughout the whole universe?”
    “Yes but….”
    “Case dismissed.”
    Notice David the Thinker that the article makes special note that no lawyer has taken the case? It is just a UK rag trying to stir up shit.
    The standard Ali G release always made it clear that you were waiving any and all rights by signing it.
    What I know about the Frat Boys is that the national chapter has denounced thei behavior and banned them… but Notice the THIRD frat boy isn’t suing and thinks it is funny.
    David I think you got me all wrong and have for sometime.
    Let me help you clarify
    I think this is THE greatest site on the web. I love it. I love you.
    Which is why those shorts confuse me. They are beneath you. It is sad that you would make jokes about O’Toole’s death. This is why I ask what the point is. Yes, you’d be a great Ebert replacement because you care about film but you aren’t getting it.
    If you notice, I only post when you are wrong- because I expect perfection from you. This is an amazing place. Stop worrying about Oscars that the nominees don’t care about. Stop acting like films lose money in the end.
    Get a grip David and be the Man I know you can be.

  9. John Y says:

    The budget for “Borat” was $18 million, which begs the question – how exactly did this movie cost that much money? Would it be crazy to assume that some of that budget may have been put aside to cover potential lawsuits and legal issues?

  10. jeffmcm says:

    Bullshit, Spam. Just because a Romanian peasant signed a piece of paper doesn’t mean that the contract was fair and equitable; just because something was legal doesn’t mean it was ‘right’. I’m sure you can agree with that.
    The other thing you need to learn is to stop trying to change peoples’ behavior. Lord knows, I’ve tried, over the years, but ultimately you get to the point where you realize that David is going to do whatever the hell he wants to do, and after a point (true for both of us) criticism starts to become irritation, and thus counterproductive. If you are serious in what you say, Spam, you’ll be wise to modulate your strategy.

  11. David Poland says:

    That’s all very nice, Spammy. Thanks for the kind words. But this latest post, aside from the compliments, is the most fully you have engaged in a specific argument in a while. And those arguments, whether we agree or disagree, add something to the site. So I would encourage you to do more of that and less trying to win the day with smart ass absolutism.
    I disagree about the ease with which this would be thrown out of court. And I doubt anyone in Fox

  12. SpamDooley says:

    Fair enough- two quick retorts then more discussion.
    1- They weren’t attacks- they weren’t praise. This is the greatest site out there IMO. And you need your Spaminy Cricket to keep you honest.
    2- Yes of course Fox SHOULD do as you say. BUT it is unlikely because once a corp admits weakness it is a slippery slope.
    As far as discussion, how about this. I can’t think of a single content lawsuit for Sony or Warners in the last ten years. Yet without trying I know that Fox was sued over JINGLE ALL THE WAY, BOYS DON’T CRY, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, ICE AGE and STRANGE DAYS (I think- it was a Cameron thing). and now BORAT.
    IMO all of these suits are attributable to Tom Rothman directly. Yet he still has a job.
    Yet he sti

  13. SpamDooley says:

    Sorry my tail there double posted.
    I am SPAM DOOLEY and I accept your warm welcome back!

  14. Argen says:

    The lawsuit I’m interested in is the one that will be filed against Spamela when his inflated sense of self-importance finally explodes, killing and injuring at least the nearest 400 or so innocent bystanders.

  15. David Poland says:

    Well, Spam… $17.5 million for Dukes of Hazzard?

  16. SpamDooley says:

    Fair enough David EXCEPT Dukes was the mistake of a lawyer who hadn’t properly cleared the chain of title. All the FOX ones are people alledging that Fox STOLE from them or outright ripped off their screenplay.
    It’s a huge difference.
    I am Spam Dooley and I use Garnier Fructis!

  17. prideray says:

    The Financial Times has a more judicious angle in a piece I linked to at Movie City Indie. “Paraschiva Stoian, the toothless 73-year-old who plays Borat’s mother got 30 Euro and 200kg of cement… [T]he diminiutive Mrs. Stoain says she feels “insulted” especially because the film crew insisted she put balloons under her shirts to simulate large breasts” yet Petre Buzea…

  18. SpamDooley says:

    You did not properly link to it btw, no surprise though.
    I am Spam Dooley and I canoe.

  19. EDouglas says:

    And the latest:
    Wish I could have been there. I probably would have done the same.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    Wait, EDouglas, did you not like the Borat movie? I really can’t tell.

  21. Wrecktum says:

    EDouglas is just bitter that he doesn’t like something that 99% of other people enjoy, so he’s lashing out.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Give him more credit than that…and according to Rotten Tomatoes it’s only 92%.

  23. Cadavra says:

    The frat boys claim they only went along because they were assured the film would only be shown outside the U.S. If this does turn out to be the case, then Fox apparently has indeed committed fraud.

  24. Lynn says:

    Eh, in the U.S., Cadavra, it depends how the release is worded. If there’s something called an integration clause, then they probably can’t rely on anything they were told verbally to establish fraud.
    I have no idea about the other release — it depends on what law governs, and whether the releases were even in a language the people could read.

  25. Cadavra says:

    Apparently there is something called “fraud in the inducement,” which basically means that if you tell somebody something that is in fact the opposite of what’s in the document, then you have indeed committed fraud. The tough part, of course, is proving it.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon