In the middle of the Abu-Jamal case
Philadelphia Business Journal - by Jeff Blumenthal
Thursday, November 11, 2010
David Wolfsohn spends his days representing clients in intellectual property litigation. The Woodcock Washburn partner most recently represented Philadelphia's largest insurance broker, The Graham Co., in a copyright case involving a trade secret dispute.
But earlier this week, Wolfsohn was caught up in the middle of the protracted case of one of the world's most controversial death row inmates — Mumia Abu-Jamal. After participating in a debate about the Abu-Jamal case, pro-Mumia activist Michael Coard handed local filmmaker Tigre Hill a letter from Wolfsohn demanding that he "immediately cease all screenings" of his new documentary, "The Barrel of a Gun," which concludes Abu-Jamal was justly convicted for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police office Daniel Faulkner.
Wolfsohn represents filmmaker Hugh King, who claims that without permission, Hill used an interview with Abu-Jamal from his film about Philadelphia Police brutality in the 1980s, "Black and Blue."
But don't expect Wolfsohn to start protesting outside the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office or come to Woodcock's Cira Centre offices in a "Free Mumia" T-shirt. Nor was Wolfsohn one of the majority pro-Mumia crowd shouting down Hill and the Philadelphia district attorney when they tried to tell their side of the Mumia saga Monday evening at the National Constitution Center.
"I'm not taking sides in this," Wolfsohn said. "But it was a clear copyright violation. Mr. Hill should have asked for a license [to use King's footage]."
Wolfsohn said his client wants Hill and his production company, Dacua Communications of Havertown, to pay restitution. If there is no response, Wolfsohn said the filing of a copyright infringement lawsuit could be in the offing.
Hill could not be immediately reached for comment.
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