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banner Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 14:22 GMT
Oscars win statue lawsuit
The Oscars have been given out since 1929
The Oscars have been given out since 1929
The organisers of the Academy Awards have agreed an out-of-court settlement with France Telecom over the unauthorized use of the Oscar symbol.

The French company will pay $41,000 (29,100) after using an imitation of the famous statuette and the name Oscar on telephone cards.

As part of the agreement, all the phone cards have been withdrawn and the company said they will not infringe the copyright again.

The Oscars statue has been linked with Hollywood movies since the awards started in 1929.

Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe
Last year's winners Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe
The Academy's executive administrator Ric Robertson said they will fight any misuse of the symbol.

He said: "To ensure that those symbols and names retain their exclusive association in the public's mind with the Academy and its awards for excellence in film making, it's important to protest all instances of misuse."

A statement from France Telecom said they would "refrain from using the Academy's intellectual properties in the future without written approval".

The Oscars were first handed out in 1929, with the first statue going to Emil Jannings, who was named best actor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Things.

Originally called the Academy Award of Merit, it is still not really known how the honour was nicknamed Oscar.

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg will return as Oscar host for the 2002 ceremony
One popular story is that Academy librarian Margaret Herrick told staff that she thought the statue resembled her Uncle Oscar and the name stuck.

More than 2,000 statues have been handed out since the awards began.

This year the 74th Academy Awards will come from the newly built Kodak Theatre after moving from the Shrine Auditorium - and will be the first time the coveted event has been held in Hollywood itself for more than 40 years.

Nominations will be announced on 12 February with Moulin Rouge and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring expected to feature.

Former Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg will host the Academy Awards on 24 March.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
Whoopi's Oscar found after theft
08 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
Whoopi returns as Oscar host
06 Jan 02 | Film
Tolkien film wins top award
26 Mar 01 | Film
Martin tries at dull Oscars
17 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscar statuettes go missing
20 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscars found in rubbish bin
07 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Man jailed over Oscars theft
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