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Fox Sues Record Label In Dispute Over 'Empire' Title
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fox has asked a federal judge to issue an order allowing the network to continue to use "Empire" as the title of its newest hit show after a record label demanded millions of dollars over use of the word.
Twentieth Century Fox Television filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles seeking a judge's order that the network can continue to use the title "Empire" for its series starring Oscar nominee Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.
The lawsuit states the San Francisco-based record label Empire Distribution Inc., has sent letters demanding as much as $8 million from Fox. Empire Distribution claims the show's title is creating confusion with its artists and the network should either pay or change the show's title.
"It isn't just a fictional show," Empire Distribution CEO Ghazi Shami wrote in a statement released Tuesday. "They are functioning as a record label in the real world."
The lawsuit states Empire Distribution has a pending trademark application for use of the word, but that an initial filing was rejected. The trademark application was filed after the showed premiered in January, the lawsuit states.
"Empire" has become a hit for Fox, with its ratings rising each week and nearly 17 million viewers tuning in for the show's recent Season One finale. The show is about drama within a music and entertainment company run by Howard's fictional character, Lucious Lyon.