NBA billionaire LeBron James and hip-hop mogul Drake are being accused in a lawsuit of “stealing” the “intellectual property rights” to a hockey documentary called “Black Ice.”
The film is based on the book “Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925,” which was written by George and Darril Fosty. George and Darril Fosty were also named in the lawsuit filed by George “Billy” Hunter, a former former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and ex-federal prosecutor.
Hunter filed the suit in Manhattan state Supreme Court and he is seeking a share of profits from the documentary as well as $10 million in damages. According to Hunter, he holds the exclusive legal rights to produce any film about the Colored Hockey League that existed from 1895 to the 1930s.”
James’ entertainment companies, The Springhill Company and Uninterrupted Canada, Drake’s entertainment company, DreamCrew Entertainment, are listed. DreamCrew is a Canadian production company co-founded by Drake in 2017. DreamCrew produces the hit show “Euphoria.”
James‘ Uninterrupted Canada and The SpringHill Company signed on to make the doc, while Drake is executive producer through his DreamCrew company, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Hunter claims James, the first active NBA player to reach billionaire status, and Drake, who has a net worth of $250 million, made the deal to turn the book into a film behind his back.
George and Darril Fosty are accused of breaching a contract that gave Hunter the rights to produce the film; he paid $265,000 to secure the movie rights, court papers state.
“While the defendants LeBron James, Drake and Maverick Carter [LeBron’s business partner] are internationally known and renowned in their respective fields of basketball and music, it does not afford them the right to steal another’s intellectual property,” Hunter’s attorney, Larry Hutcher said, reported by the New York Post.
Hunter Claims Betrayal
Hunter believes the authors betrayed him in favor of James and Drake.
“The Dreamcrew Defendants’ and Uninterrupted Defendants’ acts were and are intentional and carried out for the purpose of disrupting Plaintiff’s legal rights. Each of the Dreamcrew Defendants and Uninterrupted Defendants acted with malice as demonstrated by the inflated price they paid for the duplicate option,” Hunter said, the Post reported.
What is ‘Black Ice’?
The documentary is scheduled to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10.