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Raging Bull copyright case reaches top US court

Published on Jan 22, 2014 6:14 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Oscar-winning boxing drama Raging Bull was at the centre of a copyright battle on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014, as the US Supreme Court heard arguments from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the daughter of a dead screenwriter.

Ms Paula Petrella claims the studio owes her damages because the film directed by Martin Scorsese was based in part on a screenplay written by her father Frank Petrella.

But MGM, which produced the 1980 movie starring Robert De Niro as the tortured middleweight Jake LaMotta, says Ms Petrella waited too long before filing a lawsuit making the copyright claim - the studio has already won an appeals court case in California on those grounds.

At the hearing on Tuesday, the nine Justices sought to determine whether the "doctrine of laches" - which says you cannot file a lawsuit after an unreasonable delay - applies.

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