Spielberg’s lawyers order Lampeter to ‘cease and desist’

When the University of Wales, Lampeter chose a photograph of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to illustrate a course leaflet, it probably did not envisage the brochure ever coming to the director’s attention.

December 23, 2008

But Mr Spielberg’s lawyers have eyes everywhere, it seems: the university has received a “cease and desist letter”, forbidding it from using his image. Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Inc., a firm of lawyers based in Beverly Hills, wrote to Lampeter’s director of creative writing Dic Edwards on 3 December to say that it had been forwarded the brochure “with a prominent photograph of Steven Spielberg rather gratuitously included, as if to imply that he has licensed, endorsed or participated in your program”. The use of the picture infringed upon the director’s personal rights, the lawyers added. “Please cease and desist from circulating this or any brochure with Mr. Spielberg’s picture on it or with any reference to him directly or indirectly.”

Dr Edwards replied immediately, saying: “This is clearly a deep unfortunate error of judgement on our part and we humbly apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused to Mr Spielberg.” The offending leaflet had now been withdrawn, he added. “Please accept our deepest apologies and our gratitude for your decision to take no further action in this matter.”

Dr Edwards told Times Higher Education: “The matter has been dealt with and I’ve made an assurance to Spielberg’s solicitors that we will never mention the famous director in front of our students again. We are, of course, thrilled that people in Hollywood are paying attention to our MA in creative and script writing.”


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