Most Florida moviegoers probably know the feeling of seeing a movie and thinking the story sounds suspiciously familiar. Most of this time, this feeling leads to no more than an amused chuckle or an invocation of the old saying “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Sometimes, however, this feeling results in a lawsuit.
In an unusual copyright lawsuit, a production company alleges that the 2012 Clint Eastwood movie “Trouble with the Curve” infringes its property rights in a screenplay titled “Omaha.” This in itself is not unusual; it’s fairly common for lawsuits to arise alleging that one film infringed the copyrights of another screenplay. However, this particular lawsuit alleges a conspiracy to cover up the infringement.
According to the complaint filed by Gold Glove Productions, the company hired a screenwriter to write the screenplay for “Omaha,” but then accused him of breaching his contract when it didn’t like his efforts to put finishing touches on the work. Gold Glove alleges that the screenwriter then rewrote the script and took it to Warner Bros., where it became “Trouble with the Curve.” That film was credited to another screenwriter, but Gold Glove alleges that his name was only placed on the film to cover up the fact that the screenplay was based on another work to which Gold Glove had the rights.
Warner Bros. said it was not yet ready to comment on the complaint.
Legal disputes in entertainment law can become extremely complicated. While it often seems like everyone in Florida knows a little something about the entertainment business, it takes a professional to understand the fine points of law in disputes over copyrights, television and film contracts and other aspects of the entertainment business. Florida entertainment workers should take their concerns to a professional who understands the special needs of their business.
Source: Hollywood Reporter, “Producer Claims ‘Trouble with the Curve’ Came About Through Conspiracy,” Eriq Gardner, Oct. 1, 2013