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question of the day: Famous creative types pushing back against corporate greed: hot new trend or momentary pissing into the wind?

Jesse Eisenberg Camp Hell

You may have heard, earlier this week, about how Elvis Costello is warning his fans away from his new limited-edition box set, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.], because the price Universal Music has set for it — US$264.89/Can$224.89/£212.99 —

appears to be either a misprint or a satire.

That’s from the musician’s own Web site.

Bizarrely, Tim Jonze at the Guardian tries to spin this as Costello throwing a temper tantrum and sabotaging his own career, and suggests that spending any amount of money, no matter how small, for anything creative is something only fools do. Which is a ridiculous overreaction to Costello’s stance.
Today, I learn this, via The Hollywood Reporter:

Jesse Eisenberg has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment for allegedly turning his less-than-five-minute cameo in the horror flick Camp Hell into an above-the-title star turn. The actor is using the Los Angeles Superior Court to make a point. According to the complaint, “Eisenberg is bringing this lawsuit in order to warn his fans and the public that, contrary to the manner in which Defendants are advertising the film, Eisenberg is not the star of and does not appear in a prominent role in Camp Hell.”

According to the lawsuit, filed by Marty Singer, Eisenberg agreed to perform for one day at minimal compensation (about $3,000) as a favor to friends, who were producing and directing the low budget film.

That happened in 2007, before Eisenberg garnered an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Social Network

(FYI: The offending cover art appears only in Region 1 [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada]; the Region 2 DVD [Amazon U.K.] doesn’t mention Eisenberg at all.)

THR reporter Eriq Gardner struggles to imply that the suit has little merit on the basis of California law on publicity rights, but the way in which he does so is intriguing:

The lawsuit struggles to live up to its billing as a dispute over publicity rights, quantum meruit, and unfair business practices. Instead, the lawsuit sometimes resembles a consumer class action, saying that the producers are “continuing to perpetrate a fraud on the public,” that Eisenberg’s fans and the public “should be protected” from false advertising, and that by misusing Eisenberg’s likeness, the producers “fraudulently induce his fans to purchase a copy of the DVD of the Picture.”

Gardner is suggesting that perpetuating a fraud on Eisenberg’s fans isn’t a big deal, but I suspect fans care very much about being cheated.

Are these two instances just a coincidence? Might something bigger and angrier be in the air? Famous creative types pushing back against corporate greed: hot new trend or momentary pissing into the wind? Or is even the griping of creative people against the corporations the profit off them merely one more way to grab publicity and make even more money?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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