Friday, July 19, 2024

HBO’s Woody Allen-Mia Farrow Documentary Uses Audio from Woody’s Book WITHOUT Permission, Says Publisher


UPDATE Here’s the full Skyhorse quote:

The first episode of Allen v. Farrow uses without permission more than three minutes of Skyhorse’s audio edition of Woody Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing. It is our understanding that the remaining episodes make similar unauthorized use of the audiobook. This blatant appropriation of Mr. Allen’s intellectual property is unquestionably copyright infringement under existing legal precedent. Viewers of the series should take into consideration the producers’ unethical conduct when evaluating their so-called documentary’s sensationalist and salacious story.

EXCLUSIVE If you’re going to watch HBO’s “Allen vs. Farrow” tonight, you’ll notice that Woody Allen is not interviewed. His side tells me that they received a pro-forma request to interview Woody after the do was made, and they declined.

So to supplement the already one sided mini series, directors Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick faked having Woody in their film. They included snippets from the audio version of Woody’s autobiography, “Apropos of Nothing,” published last year. This way, it seems like Woody participated in their film.

He did not.

Skyhorse Books publisher Mark Gompertz tells me, “We’re at a disadvantage because we haven’t seen the film, but they used the audio without permission.”

In other words, Kirby and Dick and HBO figured they’d just use Woody’s words, claim fair use, and see if anyone sues them. Ditto the licenses for clips of Woody’s movies. I doubt the filmmakers bothered to “clear” those or pay for them. They would never have been approved.

The see-if-anyone-sues-us theory didn’t work well for HBO a couple of years ago with the documentary “Leaving Neverland.” A massive lawsuit is still underway, which so far HBO isn’t winning. The Michael Jackson estate has them on the ropes right now. I don’t know why they get involved in that one, or with this one. Sheila Nevins, who used to run HBO documentaries as the Tiffany’s of doc films, would have been far more circumspect.

So keep all this in mind tonight if you tune in to see Mia Farrow give an Oscar worthy performance. And read about Mia’s child molester brother here. And the whole story of the doc mini-series here. Or the song Dory Previn wrote when Mia broke up her marriage in 1969.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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