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“Happy Days” Cast may Recover DVD Royalties

On June 5, 2012, Jon Pfeiffer won a key ruling in a lawsuit he filed on behalf of five cast members of the iconic television show “Happy Days” against CBS Studios for unpaid merchandising royalties.

CBS filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that the case should be dismissed because DVDs are not merchandise. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White denied the motion and cleared the case to go to trial on July 17, 2012.

Plaintiffs are Anson Williams (Potsie Weber), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) and Patricia Bosley (the widow of Tom Bosley who played Howard Cunningham).

The actors were not paid by CBS for the use of their images on merchandise including slot machines and DVDs. Jon Pfeiffer, attorney for the Plaintiffs, stated in the Complaint that despite an on-going obligation to make payments as revenue was generated from “Happy Days” merchandise, CBS adopted a “don’t ask, don’t pay” policy. If you don’t ask, CBS don’t pay.

An article on the ruling by The Hollywood Reporter was headlined, “’Happy Days’ Actors Win Key Ruling in CBS Lawsuit” and Variety’s article was headlined, “Happy Days’ Thesps to Proceed with CBS Suit.”

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Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.  

  • Happy Days
  • Jun 17, 2012

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