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Lebron James, Drake sued over intellectual property rights for film about black hockey league

A lawyer for a former federal prosecutor who is suing LeBron James, Drake and Future for $10 million over claims they lifted intellectual property rights to a film about the segregated Canadian hockey league for black players says he had “no choice” but to so do.

Billy Hunter, former head of the NBA Players Association and former federal prosecutor, says he obtained the legal rights to produce every movie about the Colored Hockey League that began in 1895.

Hunter has named the NBA legend, his business partner Maverick Carter and the singers in a suit alleging that the new documentary Black Ice violates the terms of his previous acquisition of the rights to tell the story of the league, popular at the start of the last century.

The lawsuit, filed by Hunter’s attorney Larry Hutcher in the Manhattan Supreme Court, reads: “While defendants LeBron James, Drake and Maverick Carter [LeBron’s business partner] being internationally known and renowned in their respective fields of basketball and music, it does not entitle them to steal other people’s intellectual property.”

In a statement to DailyMail.com, Hutcher explained his reasons for taking legal action.

“We had no choice but to press charges. The athlete and rappers have not responded to questions after the initial termination letter,” Hutcher wrote.

NBA all-star Lebron James and superstar rapper Drake are among the defendants in Hunter's $10 million lawsuit over 'Black Ice' intellectual property

NBA all-star Lebron James and superstar rapper Drake are among the defendants in Hunter’s $10 million lawsuit over ‘Black Ice’ intellectual property

“Billy always thought this was going to be a powerful story and it was literally shocking to him when he found out the documentary was making progress.”

“The legal team considered a ban to halt the move at the Toronto International Film Festival, but decided against it.”

Attorney Hutcher says Hunter continued to develop the project anyway, trying to put “big Hollywood stars” on trial, including Joseph Fiennes.

Hunter has described it as the “sports version of hidden figures” and is “unafraid” to keep fighting for what he has legitimately bought.

Hunter has accused the defendants, which also include The Springhill Company and Uninterrupted Canada – James’s entertainment companies – and Drake and Future’s entertainment brand – Dreamcrew Entertainment – of negotiating a deal that will give Hunter’s legal film rights to the book on which the documentary is based. , ‘Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925.’

Billy Hunter, the former head of the NBA Players Association, is suing LeBron James, Drake, Future and their respective business partners and entertainment companies for what he believes is a breached intellectual property agreement for the historic all-black Canadian's story.  hockey league.

Billy Hunter, the former head of the NBA Players Association, is suing LeBron James, Drake, Future and their respective business partners and entertainment companies for what he believes is a breached intellectual property agreement for the historic all-black Canadian’s story. hockey league.

Promotional image for

Promotional image for “Black Ice,” based on the acclaimed book by George and Darril Fosty, who sold the exclusive movie rights to the story to Hunter for a total consideration of $265,000

The lawsuit additionally alleges the book’s co-authors, George and Darril Fosty, of violating their contract with Hunter, to whom they sold the rights to produce a film based on the book for a total consideration of $ 265,000.

The complaint alleges that when confronted with working with James, Drake and their affiliates, the Fosty’s claimed that the rival company did not qualify as a violation of Hunter’s “exclusive worldwide license.”

The documentary produced by the great artists will be screened on September 10 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Drake and James and their business partners reportedly paid the Fostys a $100,000 fee to acquire the already optional film rights to produce their

Drake and James and their business partners reportedly paid the Fostys a $100,000 fee to acquire the already optional film rights to produce their “Black Ice” documentary, despite Hunter’s legal rights to the story. They and their companies are accused of ‘dealing maliciously’

One of James's entertaining groups - Uninterrupted Canada - was named as a defendant in the lawsuit

One of James’s entertaining groups – Uninterrupted Canada – was named as a defendant in the lawsuit

The festival is known for attracting stars with films they hope will be critical darlings to promote and the timing of Hunter’s lawsuit will no doubt add to the buzz surrounding the film’s debut.

Hunter, 79, who was a professional soccer player for a short time in the 1960s, told the New York Post that he thinks the defendants never really “believed that the property rights would be litigated.”

“They thought I was going to leave. They gambled,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Hunter has been involved in a high-profile lawsuit. In 2013, after an argument with the NBA players’ union, he was removed from his position as head of the players’ association after serving in his role for 16 years.

He filed suit against the union for substitution and a confidential settlement was eventually reached between the two parties.

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