*Steve Harvey is battling it out in a Texas federal court with Joseph Cooper over footage of Harvey’s early stand-up days. Cooper was hired back in 1993 to tape performances at Harvey’s Dallas club. He claims ownership to about 120 hours of footage, and Harvey is countering that the material was shot for internal use.
Additionally, Harvey alleges that Cooper has been attempting to extort him because there’s potentially embarrassing material on the tapes. At one point Cooper demanded $5 million from Harvey for return of the tapes.
An update in the case, last week, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle reviewed both claims and arguments, and msn.com reports that in her summary judgment, she rejected two of Cooper’s claims related to interference in the marketplace, and denied Harvey’s request to toss the claim that he breached a contract. She also refused to award Harvey an injunction.
Steve maintains that he never signed an agreement, and that even if he did, the terms don’t grant Cooper rights to commercially exploit the tapes.
The contract allegedly has Harvey’s name on it and states that Cooper “reserves the right to use the original tape and/or reproductions for display, publication or other purposes.” At Cooper’s deposition, however, the plaintiff conceded that “he has never negotiated a contract where someone gave him their copyrightable works.”
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Boyle says there’s grounds for a trial, where another issue will be argued: whether Harvey violated the contract by blocking or hindering deals related to the footage. The judge has ordered both sides to come up with a trial date before January, 2017.
Harvey and Cooper’s legal teams hired economists to determine the value of the videos from the 1993 performance, in order to assess how much Cooper could have earned if Harvey didn’t block his efforts to sell the footage.