A Miami-based pornographic production company has reached a settlement agreement to pay Florida A&M University $105,000 in regards to the “Big Rattler 77” sex tape.
FAMU president, James Ammons, waved the settlement agreement papers above his head claiming victory over RK Netmedia during a press conference held in Lee Hall on April 7.
“Today, we’ve made history as a flagship university,” Ammons said. “We are very proud to announce that we have reached a settlement with RK Netmedia, Inc., regarding a pornographic video called 'Big Rattler 77,' which we believe damaged the good name, trademark, and reputation of Florida A&M University.”
The video was posted on an RK Netmedia owned Web site, Daredorm.com. The video has since been removed.
A document provided by the University Relations office stated that the $105,000 settlement will be used to fully fund two scholarships and pay $15,000 in attorney fees. The production company has also agreed to issue a press release offering its regrets and apologies for releasing the video.
“In addition, RK Netmedia, Inc., has agreed to exercise a reasonable and good faith effort to prevent and stop any and all other persons from displaying the video.”
Ammons said the board of trustees approved the settlement today and that he expects the joint consent agreement to be accepted by the court.
RK Netmedia was reported to receive an annual income of $5 million according to Manta.com, a Web site that compiles information about small businesses.
“There were extensive negotiations through RK Netmedia’s lawyers,” said attorney Richard Mitchell of GrayRobinson Law firm. “We congratulate them for working cooperatively with us. As soon as we filed a complaint, we entered into good faith settlement negotiations. I think this is a home run. We got everything we asked for.”
FAMU’s General Counsel Attorney Avery McKnight said that the settlement will also include the eight actors who were paid $10,000 for the rights of the movie.
“The settlement that we reached with RK Netmedia is a global settlement and will also include the Jane and John Doe’s one through eight,” McKinght said.
Ammons made it clear that the lawsuit was a necessity to salvage the university’s reputation and that by receiving the settlement FAMU will serve as the precedent for similar issues that will be resolved.
“This settlement is historic for FAMU and for all other colleges and universities around this nation,” Ammons said. “The timely resolution of this lawsuit not only benefits FAMU and its students but creates a legal precedent and a landmark opportunity for other state and national universities to legally protect their name, trademarks and reputation.”