If You Have A Screenplay Worth Millions, Shouldn't You Back It Up?

from the courts-think-so dept

Here's a fun story for a Friday. It appears that a guy who had written three screenplays (creatively titled: "Color of Tulip," "Blood on Ice," and "Blood on Seven Hills") saved them all to his desktop and didn't bother backing them up. At one point, he had entered into negotiations to sell the screenplays for $2.7 million, but those talks never went anywhere. However, sometime after this, he signed up for DSL from SBC (now AT&T). When the technician came to his house to install the DSL, he tried to "help" by cleaning up the "unused" items on the guy's desktop -- which, of course, included the screenplays. Eventually, SBC paid for data recovery (and fired the technician), which seems fair. The data recovery process didn't fully work, since it wasn't done until quite some time after the files were deleted, by which point the data had been overwritten. However, the guy wanted more, claiming that the screenplays were worth the millions he never actually got in a signed deal. The courts, however, appear to disagree, with a jury noting that he was also at fault for not making a backup of such "valuable" files. While it's true that the tech never should have deleted the files, it's a bit of a stretch to believe that they're worth millions without any deal in place. The lack of a backup suggests that the guy didn't even value the content enough to do the most basic of backups.

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  1. identicon
    Topher3105, 7 Jul 2006 @ 12:20pm

    First

    I mean, I now it is hard to reproduce something like a screenplay from memory, the guy should have a pretty clear memory about how the plot went. If the guy is worth his salt as a writer, then he will rewrite the plays, and by doing so, make them better in the process. This is of course assuming the guy was sober when he writes.

    Second, get a friggin clue buddy. Saving documents to your desktop, the guy probably had hundreds of icons on his desktop. I can't stand moronic people that don't LEARN how to use computers, they just are lazy and drop files on the desktop because they are too stubborn to figure out how to do things properly.

    In any case, I agree that this case would have been tossed out. I mean if the guy got paid and then the files were deleted, and he had to return the money, there would be damages, but not before he sold the screenplays.

    Finally, 2.7 million for 3 screen plays? The average Hollywood screen play for unknown or first time writers is around $100,000, and that is being generous. Who is this guy, Michael Crichton?

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