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White Stripes Sue To Halt Distribution Of Documentary

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The White Stripes are suing filmmaker George Roca over a White Stripes documentary Nobody Knows How to Talk to Children. The cease and desist order has effectively stopped the film from being shown in eight movie festivals and theaters this year. The duo claims to still retain the rights to the music and images in the film shot at the Bowery Ballroom over four nights in New York in April, 2002.

The White Stripes want to relate to their fans the truth about the concert video "Nobody Knows How To Talk To Children" that was recently shown at the Seattle Film Festival," the band posted on its web site. "The guy who shot this, George Roca, and the festival had ABSOLUTELY NO CLEARANCE TO SCREEN THIS FILM. The White Stripes own the rights to the footage and the music. We never authorized, released, or legally allowed in any way for the video to be shown. Here is the story from the beginning."

"We were called by George Roca prior to the band's four night stand at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. He wanted to videotape the entire event, stage performance and backstage goings on for his demo reel. We said yes to his request provided he and his crew agreed to the following conditions: 1) it had to be all shot in black and white; 2) the cameramen had to wear uniforms (white lab coats in fact); 3) no camera people were allowed to talk to anyone (this was to present a sense of easiness around the building so that people would be more themselves instead of being intimidated with a camcorder taping them the whole time); and 4) The White Stripes own the footage 100%. George Roca agreed to all of these terms. He signed a contract along with his co-workers stating that The White Stripes completely own the footage, and nothing could be done with this without our permission."

"A few months later a videotape of an edited version of this was sent to the band. It was not as good as we hoped — the sound was poor, the editing didn't feel right, etc. – just not up to the standards our fans have come to expect. After we saw it, we emailed Roca about eventually coming out and editing it with him, and choosing what songs we wanted to be in it. He said o.k. With the last three years of intense touring and work schedule, this did not happen. And in fact The White Stripes pretty much saw this project – when done properly — as something we would probably release ten years from now, not a month after it happened."

"Recently (sometime in May, 2004), Roca's attorney called The White Stripes' management, Monotone, to request permission to show it at various festivals in order to secure distribution. For many reasons, we said no. We told him no formally, had lawyers tell him no. We sent him a very nice email telling him no. The quality of it was poor, and the timing was wrong (we have another DVD of live concert footage shot at 2 shows in Blackpool, England that's going to be released at the end of the year). So despite being told no, George Roca decided to take it upon himself to simply release it to festivals WITH NO APPROVAL OR PERMISSION FROM THE WHITE STRIPES, NO RELEASES AND NO LICENSES, NOT IN KEEPING WITH THE CONTRACT THAT HE SIGNED. George Roca also called Fox News and tried to get them to run a story about how the band, "the successful celebrities," are trying to block the "underdog" from releasing "HIS" concert video! they didn't run the story."

"This situation is obviously an example of the latest generation of people who think they are entitled to do whatever they want — no matter how greedy or self-serving (and possibly illegal) their actions may be – with no repercussions for these actions." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen