Considering itself to have full copyrights on "The Golden Compass", New Line Cinema has taken a legal action against filmmakers of a home video documentary entitled "Beyond the Golden Compass: The Magic of Philip Pullman" upon finding out that the feature is timed to coincide with the theatrical release of the fantasy adventure.
Filed the week of November 12, 2007 in New York District Court, the lawsuit alleges Koch Entertainment, the company making the documentary, for violating New Line's copyrights while asking U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Tomlinson to enjoin Koch from releasing the video. "Compass", based on the first of Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, has been expected to be a potential franchise starter for the giant studio, which has spent millions on the rights and marketing of the flick.
"In a cynical and transparent effort to unfairly compete with (and) capitalize on the massive publicity and promotional effort attendant to the upcoming release of plaintiff's film, and in complete disregard of plaintiff's exclusive rights in the underlying materials, defendants have produced and are marketing and distributing the infringing video," the lawsuit states.
New Line further accuses that the defendants, which also include Schwartz & Co., XYZ Corps. and various Koch entities, have created promotional materials for the video similar to its marketing materials for "Compass." Looking on all of these, the giant studio thus claims damages of at least ten million U.S. Dollar in total.
On the other side, Koch, however, strongly denies it has copied New Line's packaging and states the studio has only offered as evidence a "style guide" that is a "set of disparate elements that may or may not be juxtaposed together as the trade dress of any specific product." Though indeed hints out on its website that the documentary is being released to "coincide with the big-budget film adaptation of Pullman's book", the company claims that the documentary is in fact based on the book, not the movie.