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Having a film short accepted at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival is a dream come true for many indie filmmakers-especially if early buzz suggests it could take the top prize. Such was the case for French filmmaker Josephine Point and What Red Balloon?, Point's incisive, twenty-minute social critique of globalization. But when her distributor colorized portions of the film without her express consent, Point was outraged and embarrassed, but hardly surprised, when her film was the flop of Sundance. Colorization had changed her film's theme to such a degree that it no longer made the strong social statement that the plaintiff intended, and her repeated invocation of droit moral-the European legal concept of artists' "moral right" to have their artistic works remain as they created them-fell on the deaf ears of counsel and the arbitration board assembled to settle the dispute.

Point v. Dunstable is a legal malpractice case involving artists, arbitrators, film experts, questions of professional liability, and the nexis-if any-of American and European intellectual property law. With exhibits and two witnesses (including experts) per side, Dunstable sharpens a student's trial skills and knowledge of ethics and professional conduct. Substantive knowledge of intellectual property law is neither tested nor required. It is suitable as a half-day bench trial or full-day full trial.

Please note that a crucial part of the fact pattern in Point v. Dunstable concerns the unauthorized colorization of the plaintiff's film. The movie stills are reproduced in black and white exhibits in the print version of this case file, but appear in accurate color on the CD-ROM. Please refer your students to the CD-ROM exhibits when teaching this case file.

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NITA, National Institute for Trial Advocacy


Boulder, CO


Trial Practice;simulation

Point v. Dunstable