Days may be getting a little bit happier for CBS Corp. and the actors it has been squabbling with. Former cast members of the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days” were unhappy with the money they received (or, to hear them tell it, did not receive) from merchandising using their likenesses from the show. More specifically, the actors are seeking royalties for the use of their images on the packages of “Happy Days” DVDs. They had already received royalties for the DVDs themselves.
On June 5, a judge denied CBS’s motion for summary judgment, allowing the case to go forward. But it seems now that both sides are tired of fighting, as they have entered settlement talks. A spokeswoman for CBS wouldn’t comment on the talks, but did tell Reuters, "we have never refused to pay the members of the 'Happy Days' cast any of the money they are owed under their contracts, and we'll continue to honor those obligations."
If the parties don’t come to a settlement, and the cast members prevail in their case, it could set a dangerous precedent for entertainment companies, allowing cast members to profit not only from the products themselves, but from the use of their images on the products as well.