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Gibson Dunn Wasn't Joking Around

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher wasn't kidding when it sued joke-book editor Judy Brown and her publisher in 2006 for a series of books that used jokes by Jay Leno and other comedians without their permission. Yesterday, the firm issued an announcement that it had reached a settlement with Brown and her publisher in which they will stop selling the books and pay compensation to Leno and the other comedians who filed the suit. "This settlement sends a strong message that the intellectual property rights of comedy writers must be respected," said Gibson Dunn partner Theodore J. Boutrous, who represented the comedians and NBC Studios.

Leno, comedian Rita Rudner and NBC Studios are donating their shares of the settlement to charity. Gibson Dunn is following suit, according to the Cal Law blog Legal Pad, donating a portion of its fees as well. "If Jay and Rita were going to give their recoveries to charity, we figured we would do it too," Boutrous told Legal Pad.

For litigator Boutrous, the case was interesting for teaching him about the world of comedians and the work that goes into their jokes, he told Legal Pad. "They do it because of a passion. It's been very gratifying working with them and helping protect comedy writing." As for Brown, she issued an apology in which she recognized "that comedy is as much an art form as other types of creative expression." Which means, of course, that Gibson Dunn and its clients get the last laugh after all.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 24, 2008 at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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