Thursday, October 14, 2004

Landmark US copyright ruling

A landmark court ruling in America has suggested that producers could be entering into an implied contract with writers even by hearing a pitch or reading a script, reports the New York Times (free registration required).
The judgement follows a lawsuit filed in 1999. Jeff Grosso, a freelance magazine writer and high-stakes poker player, contended that Miramax had stolen his original script "The Shell Game," which he wrote in 1995. Mr. Grosso sent an unsolicited copy of the script to a production company that had offices in the same TriBeCa building as Miramax and a had first-look deal with the company. Later, he came to believe that many of its plot and character ideas had been folded into "Rounders," which starred Matt Damon.
It's still not entirely clear what the implications of the judgement will be.
For the last month, Hollywood legal circles have been puzzling over the decision, which declares that movie and television executives enter an implied contract every time they read a script or hear a pitch. The ruling, if it stands, appears to strengthen the position of writers. But industry watchers say it may also put a new chill on the already frosty business of selling ideas, by forcing studios and networks to spell out terms or seek legal waivers before they read or listen to a word.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.