Hollywood veteran Warren Beatty has maintained the rights to the "Dick Tracy" screen franchise after winning a summary judgment in his long running legal dispute. The actor/director has been locked in a legal war with bosses at Tribune Media Services, a unit of bankrupt newspaper publisher Tribune, since 2006, when he was accused of "wrongly" claiming to have exclusive motion picture and TV rights to the police detective brand - despite purchasing the broadcast privileges in 1985.
But Tribune executives claimed the movie star had not made any "productive use" of the franchise, and therefore the rights should revert back to the media firm if he failed to begin work on a new Tracy project within two years. Their assertion prompted Beatty to hit back with a counter suit to keep hold of the rights to the franchise.
In court papers, the movie star claimed he notified Tribune he had begun work on a TV special, a follow-up to his hit 1990 film, in early November 2008, just days before the media firm's proposal expired.
The case went before U.S. District Court in California on Thursday, March 24, when Judge Dean D. Pregerson ruled in favor of Beatty. In his decision, Judge Pregerson noted, "Beatty's commencement of principal photography of his television special on November 8, 2008 was sufficient for him to retain the Dick Tracy rights."