Lee Daniels Free to Use 'The Butler' in Film Title

The Motion Picture Association of America overturned a previous ruling and will allow the director to use the titles Lee Daniels' The Butler or The White House Butler.

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Lee Daniels (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

The Wrap is reporting that the Motion Picture Association of America on Friday overturned an earlier ruling that will permit the Weinstein Company to use the titles Lee Daniels' The Butler or The White House Butler, following a hard-fought battle with Warner Bros.

The Association, however, upheld its decision that the Weinstein Company could not use the original film title, The Butler, the site says.

The MPAA faulted The Weinstein Company for "continuous use of the unregistered title 'The Butler' in willful violation of the TRB rules" and said the company is "permanently prohibited from any use of the title." The Weinstein Company will have to pay $400,000 to the Entertainment Industry Foundation for its violations, an additional $100,000 to the EIF and pay up to $150,000 to Warner Bros. for legal fees.

If The Weinstein Company does not comply with the ruling, it will have to pay $25,000 each day until it does.

The Weinstein Company is expected to use one of the two approved titles, according to an individual with knowledge of the dispute. If the company does use an alternate title with the word "butler," all of the words in the title will have to be of a similar size. For example, if The Weinstein Company calls it "Lee Daniels' The Butler," the words "Lee Daniels" must be at least 75 percent as large as "Butler."

The move comes after The Weinstein Company appealed the MPAA's arbitration ruling earlier this month, prohibiting the studio from naming the movie "The Butler" because Warner Bros. owns the rights to the title. The studio released a 1916 short film of the same name.

Read more at the Wrap.

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