Do you remember when former #ReadingRainbow host #LeVarBurton raised over $5 million in a kickstarter campaign to revive the show? Well, three years have passed and still no show! Due to a recent lawsuit, it appears that the delay stems from an ongoing court battle from 2011 regarding a licensing deal.
Reading Rainbow is currently owned by a public broadcaster in Buffalo, NY called WNED and they have recently filed a lawsuit against former host #LeVarBurton. He is being sued for copyright infringement, conversion, cybersquatting, violations of the Lanham Act, breach of contract and interference with customer relations after continuing to use the show’s tag line, “But you don’t have to take my word for it” as they claim he has no legal right to do so. It’s an unfortunate situation, because Burton has been associated with the phrase for over 20 years!
Per court documents, WNED detailed their reasons for the suit and call Burton out for ruining their own attempts at reviving Reading Rainbow by allegedly making secret dealings with Netflix.
“As evidenced by Mr. Burton’s conduct since he began ‘teasing’ the public about the return of Reading Rainbow years before his company acquired any rights to do so, Mr. Burton’s goal is to control and reap the benefits of Reading Rainbow’s substantial goodwill — goodwill that unquestionably belongs to WNED,” the notice states.
“First, defendants tried to assert control over the brand through deception: secret negotiations with Netflix, false assertions of ownership of the RR Intellectual Property, and misleading efforts to persuade WNED’s business associates to make Mr. Burton the host of any new series. Then, defendants tried brute force: the RRKIDZ Action, through which they tied up the RR Intellectual Property while waging a war of attrition intended to extract a settlement that would loosen restrictions of their ability to exploit the RR Intellectual Property. Now that WNED has called their bluff and is prepared to take the RRKIDZ Action to trial, defendants have resorted to theft and extortion. As the RRKIDZ Action moved closer to trial, RRKidz began working with Mr. Burton’s longtime friend, John Raymonds, to secretly encumber the RR Intellectual Property as collateral for $2.5 million in loans from Raymonds Capital.”
You can view the full document here.
TSR STAFF: Talia O. @theclosetratchet on IG, @tallyohhh on Twitter