‘Raging Bull’ Copyright Fight Will Be Judged By The Supreme Court

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‘Raging Bull’ Copyright Fight Will Be Judged By The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has answered the bell in the fight over early works based on the story of boxer Jake LaMotta – the subject of MGM‘s 1980 Best Picture nominee Raging Bull. The justices today agreed to hear the case brought by Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella penned the two screenplays and a book that inspired the Martin Scorsese film and was given an acting credit under the name Peter Savage. When he died in 1981, the copyrights reverted to his daughter. In 2009, she sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. for copyright infringement for creating and distributing copies of the movie that earned Robert De Niro a Best Actor Oscar. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that she waited too long to file the suit. In August, Paula Petrella asked the courts to reinstate the case, saying the Appeals Court dismissal was wrong based on recent copyright cases. Now the high court will determine the fate of the suit after the justices return to the bench October 7. It’s the final round of a grudge match decades in the making — not unlike De Niro’s upcoming film in which he and Sylvester Stallone play aged boxers who face off in the ring 30 years after their last fight.

Related: MGM Settles ‘Raging Bull II’ Lawsuit

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