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Universal Sues Pornographers Over ’50 Shades’ Use

(NEW YORK) -- Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the kinky protagonists of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, will soon be leaping off the page and into your local Cineplex.

Not surprisingly, the adventurous duo are also slated to make appearances, reportedly in three XXX films–the basis for a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement and false advertising, among other offenses.

The suit was filed on November 27 in U.S. District Court in Central California by Fifty Shades Ltd. and Universal City Studios, which owns movie rights to EL James’s best-selling trilogy (which also includes “Fifty shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”). In the complaint, the plaintiffs maintain that Smash Pictures, of Chatsworth, Calif., along with two other adult filmmakers and three other men, are producing and distributing unauthorized adult films and sex toys based on the best-selling salacious books.

According to the complaint, the films take “wholesale the dialogue, characters, and storyline” from the three books, which were originally released as e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks in Australia in May 2011, September 2011, and January 2012. In April, 2012, they were later published in the US by Vintage books. The books have sold 40 million copies worldwide. “By lifting exact dialogue, characters, events, story, and style from the Fifty Shades trilogy, Smash Pictures ensured that the first XXX adaptation was, in fact, as close as possible to the original works,” the complaint alleges.

According to the suit, Smash Pictures states quite clearly on its web site and on the back cover of the DVD box that it is “based upon the best selling series of books that has swept the world,” putting “the kinky fantasies that you only imagined into vivid color.” The suit also quotes an interview in LA Weekly in which Smash Pictures vice president Stuart Wall  says that the first film is “very true to the book and its S&M themed-romance” with the script written “to be as close to the series” as the director can get.

The suit is seeking an injunction blocking the defendants from using the Fifty Shades trademarks to advertise or sell any goods or services, and from publishing, distributing, advertising or selling the alleged unauthorized material. The plaintiffs also request the defendants deliver all existing copies of the film to them “for destruction.”  Universal and Fifty Shades Ltd. also seek any profits the defendants earned from the film, along with suit costs, lawyer’s fees and interest.

Smash Pictures did not return telephone calls from ABC News.  A representative for Universal declined to comment, as did their attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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