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Universal sues to stop porn adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey and misses the irony entirely

12.10.2012

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Universal is the studio currently behind the cinematic adaptation of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, and is already taking steps  towards actual adaptation by signing "Terra Nova" co-creator Kelly Marcel to write the screenplay.  But if you needed more proof that Universal is serious about their intentions to bring E.L. James' work to the silver screen (bdesides the fact that they paid $3 million for the rights), look no further than this news that the studio is actually suing porn studio Smash Pictures and their movie FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: A XXX ADAPTATION. 

Technically, insofar as I understand the way porn renditions of rights-protected works go, the word "parody" is generally considered the legal safe word so that they don't get sued to hell and back.  "Adaptation" is a bit more dubious, or at least has less precedent.  There's also no previously-established rule about whether grammatically incorrect titles surrender their immunity to rights claims, but that's another matter entirely.

“The first XXX adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple."  More specifically, Universal claims that the porn adaptation lifts "exact dialogue, characters, events, story and style from the Fifty Shades trilogy," something that is (to be fair) a step beyond the normal porn knock-off.  Universal is seeking in its suit to  have all copies of the movie, both physical and digital, destroyed along with all "novelty items" that came packaged with the DVD.  Just what does "novelty items" entail, anyway? Handcuffs? A tie? Paint strips with various shades of grey? Universal is also seeking an injunction that prevents Smash Pictures from filming any adaptations of the remaining two books in James' trilogy, as well as damages and legal fees and that sort of good stuff.  Says the suit: “The marketing efforts surrounding the Infringing Works attempt to trade on the popularity and goodwill associated with the Fifty Shades Trilogy and attempt to divert potential customers away from the Fifty Shades Trilogy through the use of the Fifty Shades Trademarks in the titles of the Infringing Works and in associated promotional materials."

Of course, this all takes on several further shades of funny when you think about the fact that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is basically porn already.

For f**k's sake, KINKY F**KERY?! Read this review of the book.  Just read it.  If you have any doubt about the severe lack of literary merit present in E.L. James' trilogy of books, all will swiftly be made clear.  This one too, while we're at it - it focuses more on the writing in and of itself.

Extra Tidbit: Universal should just throw a pile of money at Smash Pictures, invest in those remaining two adaptations, and make at least twice as much money as they'll make by adapting the books into straight-up movies.

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