Fifty Shades of Grey Porn Producers Defend Parody, Say Material is "Public Domain"

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In the face of a potential lawsuit by Universal Studios, the producers of an adult film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey says the famous erotic books are public domain.

Smash Pictures, the makers of Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation, has been accused of copyright and trademark infringement, both of which it denies.

A Fifty Shades Book Cover

Smash now has responded to the suit with a counterclaim, stating that because the books were originally posted as online fan fiction, they're fair game.

According to the adult film company, Universal asserts "invalid and unenforceable" copyrights on the books by EL James (real name Erika Leonard Mitchell).

Basically, Universal just shelled out big bucks for the rights to make a Fifty Shades of Grey movie that anyone can make for free, according to Smash.

Yes, the porn producers state unequivocally that the property that Universal paid $5 million to turn into a film adaptation is in the public domain:

"On information and belief, as much as 89% of the content of the allegedly copyrighted materials grew out of a multi-part series of fan fiction called Masters of the Universe."

This, they say, was "based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels."

"On information and belief, this content was published online between 2009 and 2011 in various venues, including fanfiction.net and the person website of Erika Leonard."

"Much or all of this material was placed in the public domain."

In its lawsuit, Universal sees it differently, saying that the makers of A XXX Adaptation have made a "willful attempt to capitalize on the reputation of the book."

The studio has pointed to quotes that Smash executive Stuart Wall gave L.A. Weekly as evidence that proving copyright infringement won't be tough:

"By lifting exact dialogue, characters, events, story and style, [Smash] ensured that the first XXX adaptation was, in fact, as close as possible to the original works."

In late January, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction. Smash finally has responded with an answer, a counterclaim and a motion for a continuance.

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