Italian Writer Claims She Owns The Rights To The Benjamin Button Story

from the someone-check-with-f.-scott-fitzgerald dept

Following the story of multiple authors all claiming credit for creating Hannah Montana, a few folks have sent in the news that an Italian writer claims that she actually wrote a story that was the basis for the hit movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The woman claims she wrote and copyrighted (but never published) a short story in 1994. That should strike quite a few people as odd, as most people know that the movie is very loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story that goes by the same name as the movie… which was published in 1921. You would think that if the filmmakers really wanted to make a movie based on this unknown Italian office-worker’s story, it would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for the rights to the Fitzgerald story. Again, though, like the Hannah Montana case, the basic conceit of the story (someone aging backwards) is hardly that original, and is an idea that lots of people have had over time. It seems pretty silly to claim ownership of it.

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Comments on “Italian Writer Claims She Owns The Rights To The Benjamin Button Story”

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RD says:

Oh please

Piers Anthony, Chronos, the “Incarnations of Immortality” series, circa late-80’s. Similar mechanism, main character ages in reverse time to everyone else, so he lives backwards. This is hardly a new idea. The IDEA cant be stolen, just the IMPLEMENTATION. Did her story have a man named Benjamin Button? Did her character experience the SAME things as in the movie? The SAME set pieces, characters he interacts with, time, date, etc? Because just a “similar idea” isnt enough with all the prior art, sorry. Fitz got there before everyone else, suck it up.

bikey (profile) says:

wrote and copyrighted?

Just a detail, but you don’t ‘write and copyright’. As soon as an idea is in fixed form, it is automatically subject to copyright. The US, alone in the world, requires registration before you can start an infringement action, but this does not ‘create the copyright’, it just gives you documentation necessary to file an action. Come on guys, this is basic.

LostSailor says:

Re: Re: Public Domain

Actually, since this was first published in 1921, it would have been eligible for one renewal after the first 28 year period, but even then, would not have been eligible for further extension even under the 1976 copyright act (falling short by a year or so). I’m pretty sure this is in the public domain and no rights would have to have been secured by the filmmakers.

John (profile) says:

Not again

A story like this comes up every time a popular movie comes out. How many movies were “written” by people who either want to blackmail the studio to give them money or they want attention.
I forget the name of the previous movie, but something like 10 people came forward to say they came up with the idea and should be paid, when the movie was written by a single screenwriter, based on his own book!

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