Aretha Franklin Blocks Showing of Concert Film

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By Blake Brittain

Sept. 8 — An unreleased film of Aretha Franklin singing at a Los Angeles church in 1972 wasn't shown at a Telluride, Colo., festival because of a Sept. 4 emergency injunction.

Showing the film—“Amazing Grace”—was likely to violate Franklin's right of publicity, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado said in its order, noting that Franklin had not given permission for its release.

The film was slated to be shown at the Telluride Film Festival Sept. 4, 5, and 6.

The agreement that transferred rights in the film to its producer, Alan Elliott, required Franklin's permission before showing the footage.

The concert took place at the New Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972. The live album from that concert, also titled “Amazing Grace,” has sold over two million copies, and is the best-selling album of Franklin's career.

Franklin was entitled to “injunctive relief to protect” her “proprietary interest in her own performance” under a federal anti-bootlegging statute, 17 U.S.C. § 1101(1), according to the ruling.

The court enjoined the festival from “showing, displaying or otherwise publicly releasing or projecting” the film.

Judge John L. Kane issued the order.

Franklin is represented by N. Reid Neureiter of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP, Denver. Telluride is represented by Jack Markham Tanner of Fairfield & Woods PC, Denver.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anandashankar Mazumdar at

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