by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 9th 2008 10:27am
Another day, another silly attempt to own an idea that will backfire badly. It would appear that the guy who owns the rights to a short story, It Had to Be Murder, which was the basis for the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window is now suing Steven Spielberg for copyright infringement, because Spielberg produced the movie Disturbia last year, that had similarities to Rear Window. This seems like a huge stretch, no matter how you look at it. While legal scholars may still be debating the question of whether or not you can copyright a "plot," for the most part, you cannot. The idea itself is not copyrightable, it's the expression of the idea. And while everyone involved with Disturbia admits that it was inspired by Rear Window, there's nothing illegal about being inspired by something -- otherwise, we'd have very little new content generated ever. Once again, this seems like someone who had nothing to do with someone else's creative work coming along and demanding payment.
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