Liotti film a go despite legal threat

Wood County native Rob Liotti is proceeding with his plans for the docudrama “Bon Scott – The Legend of AC/DC Unauthorized” despite attempts to stop his movie-making efforts.

Liotti, who lives in Charleston, S.C., is the screenwriter and lead actor for the planned movie about the musical career of Australian rock ‘n’ roll icon Bon Scott, who died in 1980 at the age of 33. Scott was the lead singer for the hard rock band AC/DC, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.

Liotti said Thursday the film is in the final stages of development and he is looking for financial backing.

Liotti, a graduate of Parkersburg South High School who grew up in Parkersburg, has been working on the movie for two years.

“We shot our first dramatic footage in January (2013) in Charleston,” Liotti told me last March for a story that appeared in the News and Sentinel. The movie is “on its way,” he said at the time.

High Voltage Productions LLC, a film production company based in Charleston, S.C., has been working on the movie with Liotti.

But in a letter to Liotti’s attorney at the time Rhett Klok of Mount Pleasant, S.C., dated July 26, 2013, New York City attorney Stuart Prager said his clients, who own and control property rights to recording artist AC/DC, demand that Liotti cease his reference to the band in the movie project.

The property rights include all sound recordings, musical works, trademarks, and name and likeness rights relating to the band AC/DC, Prager’s letter states.

“Our clients have instructed us to put Mr. Liotti on notice that under no circumstances will our clients authorize any use of songs recorded by AC/DC, trademarks relating to AC/DC, or names and likeness rights of any current or former members of AC/DC in Mr. Liotti’s purported motion picture,” the letter continues.

If Liotti refuses to comply with this demand, “our clients are prepared to retain counsel to institute legal action in order to prevent Mr. Liotti from making any statements that would suggest in any way that our clients are cooperating with the purported motion picture,” Prager’s letter states. The clients are identified as Leidseplein Presse, B.V. and J. Albert & Son Pty. Ltd.

When I spoke to Prager Thursday, he said, “I have nothing to add.”

“My clients’ position is set forth in the letter (of July 26, 2013),” Prager of Grubman Indursky Shire & Meiselas, P.C. Attorneys at Law of New York City said.

Liotti said attorneys have told him they see no infringement issue in his movie-making plans. Attorneys have recommended he amend the title of the film to include the word “unauthorized,” which he has done, to show the AC/DC interests in Australia are not participating in the project.

Liotti said High Voltage Productions reached out to the AC/DC representatives before the project began but its correspondence went unanswered.

Liotti said he has always admired the band AC/DC and its music but “doesn’t feel the same warmth because of their posturing.”

“I applaud the band’s success,” he added.

Under his First Amendment right of free speech, Liotti said, he wants to tell the Scott story properly and truthfully based on facts already well known and public.


Steve Peters of Parkersburg expects to open The Mustard Seed Cafe at 218 Seventh St. in Marietta in four or five weeks. Plans call for Tasteful Occasions Catering to also operate out of the cafe across from Marietta College. The building has housed several restaurants, including most recently College Burrito Company, Peppercorn’s Deli and Blacksmith Barbecue. The cafe will offer deli sandwiches, soups, salads and healthier side items such as fruit, but no fried items, Peters said. The building will have five or six tables, a drive-thru area and outside seating in the summer. “It will be mostly to-go food,” he said. Katie Radabaugh of Marietta will be manager and part owner. Radabaugh has experience in catering and as a barista, making and serving coffee drinks, Peters said. Peters also owns Boathouse BBQ along the Ohio River at 218 Virginia St. in Marietta.

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