Fox Sues Woman For $15M Because She Aggregated TV And Movie Scripts She Found Online

from the ouch dept

In the latest example of copyright law gone mad, it appears that Twentieth Century Fox is suing a woman for $15 million, because she aggregated various scripts she found online as a resource for screenwriters (like herself) to learn from. The key issue is that apparently one of the many, many scripts she had put together was of a movie that is still in production, and Fox doesn't want anyone to see it. Apparently she was told of the lawsuit by "private investigators," who questioned her for two hours (it's not clear why she didn't throw them out or refuse to answer their questions).

Of course, those who support the current copyright regime will note that these scripts are, in fact, covered by copyright. However, it's difficult to claim that these scripts are somehow likely to act as a substitute for the actual movie for anyone. It's hard to see any losses from such a collection, frankly, but thanks to the fun of copyright law and statutory damages, actual harm doesn't much matter. All that matters is a giant Hollywood corporation has sued a struggling screenwriter for $15 million because she thought she was helping other screenwriters by aggregating example scripts she found elsewhere online for them all to learn from.

Filed Under: aggregation, copyright, scripts
Companies: 20th century fox, fox, news corp.


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  1. icon
    Eugene (profile), 29 Nov 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re: Not copyright, trade secret

    There is no trade secret, this is not the equivalent of reviewing a stolen iPhone, nothing you said was correct.

    Scripts are freely available to be read everywhere, of released films, films in-production, and even ones that haven't yet been picked up. Their method of construction is not only also freely available everywhere, but exceptionally rigid and standardized - if an aspiring scriptwriter hands in a script that deviates from the structure, their script won't even be read. Guaranteed. Resources for viewing scripts of other films, therefore, are very important.

    Furthermore, scripts are not the movie. They are rarely even enjoyable to read, because they lack stage direction and emotional cues. Many good scripts end up as bad movies and vice versa.

    This lawsuit ridiculous.

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