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Las Vegas based Rounds Entertainment and Max Cerchi sued for Copyright Infringement.
Independent Filmmaker Jeff Carney, who is being represented by the Reno Nevada law firm of Watson and Rounds, filed a lawsuit in 2003 against Rounds Entertainment and Max Cerchi also known as Massimiliano Cerchi of Las Vegas, Nevada for breach of contract and a federal copyright action for infringement.
The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada alleged that Rounds Entertainment/Max Cerchi aka Massimiliano Cerchi of Las Vegas, Nevada breached the distribution contract for the sci/fi horror movie "THE SHADOW PEOPLE" and committed willful copyright infringement after the distribution contract was terminated by the plaintiff (Carney) after 20 months of waiting for video distribution through Rounds Entertainment. While Max Cerchi had sold copies of the movie, Carney had received no payment of any kind.
The online catalog belong to Rounds Entertainment contained the movie "The Shadow People" which was produced and directed by Carney, months after it was pulled from the distributor by the plaintiff. The distribution contract was terminated by the plaintiff in April of 2002 yet the movie remained for months in the catalog section of the Rounds Entertainment website as being available for sale. If someone placed an order then a copy of the movie would be shipped even though it was months after Rounds Entertainment lost the distribution rights to the title and had returned the masters to the plaintiff back in April of 2002.
Jeff Carney stated "I was fortunate that I kept detailed records and had excellent legal representation. We caught him selling (deposited check) and shipping the movie after he had lost the rights to the picture and had already returned the masters to me months before - after I terminated the distribution agreement. Even without the distribution rights and master, Max Cerchi / Rounds Entertainment was still willing and able to mail a copy of the movie to anyone who placed an order through their website. It's really sad and unfortunate because it hurts all of us who make or distributor independent films for a living when one distributor thinks that they can get away with breaching a contract and copyright infringement on a title that they no longer have the distribution rights to. Other distributors obey the laws and Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi of Rounds Entertainment should as well."
The U.S. District Court of Nevada issued a default judgment of over $96,000 for compensatory damages for breach of contract, willful copyright infringement, and attorney fee's and awarded the sum to Jeff Carney against Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi and Rounds Entertainment. It was further ordered by the Court that a permanent injunction be "entered against Defendants Rounds Entertainment and Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them, prohibiting any future sales, leases, or copying of any kind or nature of "The Shadow People."
After the judgment was issued Jeff Carney stated, "This is a great day for independent filmmakers and distributors. A Court has shown that they are not going to tolerate a video distributor who breaks the law and who breaches a contract. The distributor who doesn't obey the laws or honor contracts is going to be held accountable for their actions. It's unfortunate that there are always a small minority of film distributors who think they don't have to compete on the same field as the other hard working distributors since most of them obey the laws and honor contracts. This judgment sends a strong message out to others and exposes Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi of Rounds Entertainment."
Carney went on to say "If more filmmakers took legal action, you would see less of this type of activity by people who believe they can get away with it because they think the independent filmmaker isn't going to take the time or effort to go after them. I know we touched a nerve when the day before depositions were to start for the trial, Cerchi's attorney called my law firm to inform them that he had not been in contact with Cerchi for several months and didn't know where he was. Cerchi fled, ignoring a Court Order to pay attorney costs for the plaintiff, while closing down www.roundsent.com (his company's website). It's a good day for all independent filmmakers as well as all of the honest distributors any time a person like this can be brought to justice and exposed. I'm very pleased with the Court's judgment against Massimiliano Cerchi / Rounds Entertainment.
If anyone has additional information regarding Max Cerchi aka Massimiliano Cerchi feel free to contact me.
July of 2013 Update: Special Thanks to several individuals for contacting me and contributing new information.
And I have to add that one of the highlights for me was that I followed actor/producer Norman Lloyd on the show. Norman Lloyd started out with Orson Welles, played the title role in Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur, went on to be a producer including working on the Alfred Hitchcock TV Series, and played Mr. Nolan in Dead Poets Society. Really a honor to follow him and I thoroughly enjoyed his interview.
This was one of the longer interviews I have done (1 hour) but I had a great time on Les Sekely's online podcast on filmmaking. Les is a wonderful host.
Actress Jenaya Carman who plays the jogger in the film that encounters a evil force at an abandoned church was named Best Scream Queen and given the Kat Creswell Memorial Scream Queen Award. Congratulations to Jenaya!
Siege Of Evil stars Desiree Muse, Scott Naumann, Amelia Foster, Jerry Wolking, Patti Flaherty, Jim Seward, Barbara Engstrom, Jenaya Carman, and Denise Yoder. For more information on this film please visit the Siege Of Evil page in the Films section of this website.
The horror film, Siege Of Evil, which is written, produced, and directed by Jeff Carney won Best Scream Queen at the 2005 Horror Dance International Film Festival.
Siege Of Evil, which is written, produced, and directed by Jeff Carney and released as part of the Everlasting Evils DVD set just hit #9 on the Canadian Amazon.com DVD Best Sellers List. For more information on this film please visit the Siege Of Evil page in the Film section of this website.
Siege Of Evil, which is written, produced, and directed by Jeff Carney will be re-released on DVD as part of the Tombs Of Terrors DVD set which will be distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada by Pendulum Pictures. For more information on this film please visit the Siege Of Evil page in the Films section of this website.
Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness
Producer/Direct Jeff Carney calls Autopsy Of The Dead, "A dream project which I have wanted to do for about 15 years but I never seemed to have the time to film it as I was always involved in other films. I finally decided to make some time and actually delayed a film just so I could finally get around to making this. All of the filming takes place in and around Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The cast is from Pennsylvania and Ohio except for one Quad Cities actress, Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness. I've known and worked with Kim several times through the years. She's very talented and I was very pleased to have her involved in the film."
Casting Complete. Now in Production in Pennsylvania. Distribution is set.
Carney, who is working with fellow Producer Jim Cirronella on the film, went to say, "It was a great city and we made a lot of friends while having a wonderful time. The hospitality was off the charts. I'm now editing the film full time and there won't be a detailed announcement on Autopsy Of The Dead until 2009."
The first photos from filming are now up on the Autopsy Of The Dead page in the Films Section of this website.
Filming has been completed on Autopsy Of The Dead in Pittsburgh PA and post production has begun. Producer/Director Jeff Carney says "The shoot was fantastic. Everyone in Pennsylvania was very friendly and helpful to us during the production. I can certainly understand why so many filmmakers shoot in Pittsburgh."
The first two trailers for Autopsy Of The Dead are now online. Visit the Autopsy of The Dead page in the Films section of this website for the trailers. Several more announcements regarding the release of the documentary on DVD coming soon!
On the left is a photo of Kyra Schonbeing interviewed in the basement location from the film.
Enjoyed the interview with Dark Gallery!
Besides online sales such as eBay, Amazon.com, the movie will also be available at several retailers. Russian Rights have already been sold as well.
Executive Producer Shayla Mihaki. Sege Of Evil stars Desiree Muse, Scott Naumann, Amelia Foster, Jerry Wolking, Patti Flaherty, Jim Seward, Barbara Engstrom, Jenaya Carman, and Denise Yoder. For more information on this film please visit the Siege Of Evil page in the Films section of this website.
Siege Of Evil, which is written, produced, and directed by Jeff Carney will be released on DVD soon. Worldwide rights have been sold to Maxim Media. Siege Of Evil will be distributed by Maxim Media, Brain Damage Films, Pendulum Pictures, and Mill Creek Entertainment in the U.S. and Canada this year.
The updates will be few and far between for a little while as I have several scripts which have to be written and several films which I'm wrapping up development on. Will talk more about the projects as soon as I can. Some exciting films in the pipeline long term.
Carney went on to say "Distribution for Autopsy Of The Dead is set and the DVD Pre-Sale will be in September of 2009 with a release date to follow later in the month. I wish I could say more about it but you will have to wait for the first trailer!" Stay tuned for more details. The DVD will have plenty of extra features and surprises - total running time of the DVD will be close to 3 hours. Check the Autopsy Of The Dead page on this website in the Film Section for updates and the first pictures from the set.
Carney also added "I've cut three trailers for Autopsy. Each one reveals a bit more about the film. The first two trailers will be online by the end of May. Pre-Sale date for the DVD will be in early September for the official website AutopsyOfTheDead.com and Amazon.com. The specific Pre-Sale and Release dates will be announced in the near future. For even more updates please visit the Autopsy Of The Dead page in the Films Section of this website.
Post production work has wrapped on the film Autopsy Of The Dead. Autopsy Producer/Director Jeff Carney says, "I'm editing the final extras for the DVD which will bring the total running time for all of the content on the DVD close to three hours. For fans of Night Of The Living Dead, this will be a documentary unlike anything they have seen before."