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 @ 6:43pm


    Oh yeah because ideas are sooo valuable!
    Like when Dreamworkz beat Pixar to the punch with their fish movie by making "A Shark's Tale". That really ruined Pixar - oh wait, nobody watched "A Shark's Tale" because it was rubbish and a transparent money grab. :|

    Seriously though, I only ever hear that concern from new scriptwriters "oh noes everyone wants to steal my idea!"

    Nobody wants to steal your idea. Nobody cares about your idea. Your idea sucks. Everyone's ideas suck by default so don't beat yourself up over it. But don't expect studios to want what you have. The reason movies need to be pitched is because most ideas suck worse than the worst movie Hollywood has ever made. Only a select few ideas are good enough to become a bad film. But even though there are only a few, they're still a dime a dozen. And it's a fake dime made out of cheap plastic. Recycled from diapers.

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