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
    orval, 10 Jul 2006 @ 3:40pm

    rick morris

    Whoah Rick, you sound like an ass.

    If you invite someone into your home then I would say, yes, the damage they cause is your responsibility.

    You're the same guy who trips on someone else's property and blames them for it. In any case, is anything ever your fault or do you constantly pass blame?

    Take some responsibility. You write passionately about it "being your stuff in your house." They're also "your guests" and it's "your responsibility to ensure that your valuable belongings are secured when your guests are about."

    You define the value of that manuscript by your actions you take with it. If you leave it out while company is around, you also agree to take the risks associated with that. The same with hired help. In the case of the movers you mention, you are paying them to "safely move" the items, and thus compensation for damage can be expected. In the case of you leaving out your precious memiors when the electrician comes over, then you may as well tell me that your delicate stained glass floors are damaged when you asked a squad of tap dancing elephants over to watch TV with you. The manuscript and the electrician have nothing to do with each other, and if you left it in his way then be a man about the consequences.

    In the case of this article, the whole thing was likely a scam. The worth of digital files is often under debate - and in this case, the judge was right.

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