In an attempt to enter the new year in good spirits, Robert De Niro (and his team of lawyers) have sent a letter to the owner of independent website, Tribeca.net, claiming the site is dancing dangerously close to copyright infringement, as it pertains to the Tribeca Film Festival. For those who weren't aware, De Niro practically owns the New York City neighborhood, having opened two restaurants there as well as helping to launch the widely popular spring film fest.
However, Tribeca.net has nothing whatsoever to do with the film festival (apparently it's a website that encourages independent artists to create their own TV shows and short films in order to be showcased online ... or something like that), and so the site's publisher (Chuck Harris) has written a friendly little letter (in which he also created a movie poster with the words 'Raging Bully' splattered across the top) reminding folks that the domain name was registered six years before the Tribeca fest began. He then goes on to spit out site statistics that claim Tribeca.net is more popular than the official website for the Tribeca fest, and that this whole what-to-do can be boiled down to a nasty case of jealousy on De Niro's part.
While you might think De Niro is being a bit of a bully here (and he kind of is), Tribeca.net has also launched two festivals of their own, one dedicated to TV shows and the other to short films. And, though Harris claims to have registered the domain back in 1995, the site did not officially open up shop until this past June. So, who's right here? Should De Niro back off of a little independent website which helps promote local homegrown talent (something he himself very much believes in), or should Tribeca.net either change their name or put up a notice claiming they are in no way affiliated with the Tribeca Film Festival? What say you?
[via Hollywood Wiretap]