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“Let Me Be Frank”: Kevin Spacey gambles with infringement

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“Let Me Be Frank”: Kevin Spacey gambles with infringement

Postby MrFredPFL » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:11 am

Story :

Spacey, in releasing the video entitled “Let Me Be Frank” on his official YouTube account, appears ‘in character’ by invoking one of his most famous roles: Francis (aka Frank) Underwood from Netflix’s series House of Cards. In this three-minute clip, Kevin Spacey is shot wearing a Christmas apron, speaking to the camera (in the iconic House of Cards’s style), replete with Underwood’s usual mannerisms, tone of voice and (fake) Southern American accent. The irony is that in hitting south of 10 million views on YouTube, Spacey received more views than the House of Cards’s final season.

The controversy of the video lies in the ambiguity of Spacey’s lines, which can only be understood with a little bit of context. In October 2018, Spacey suddenly became persona non-grata in the entertainment industry, following the publication in the press of allegations of sexual misconduct made against him. Two weeks later, Spacey was removed from Ridley Scott’s latest film, ‘All the Money in The World’, ten days before its release (see previous post on this here), and Netflix dropped the actor from its award-winning ‘House of Cards’ series.

In viewing the clip, one realizes that its title (“Let Me Be Frank”) is a pun referring to both the first name of the Netflix character as well as the actor’s ongoing legal disputes (the legal proceedings against Spacey are scheduled to begin this month in the United States and in England & Wales).

Setting aside any controversy over the video, has Spacey infringed any intellectual property rights by going ‘off script’ and impersonating Frank Underwood without (it seems) Netflix’s blessing?

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