Many of you asked us for more details about our seminal copyright infringement case is going up before California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
So we'd like to explain the whole thing but legal stuff can be so boring and complicated so we decided to try and make it a little entertaining by having all your frequently asked questions answered by an actor doing his best Christopher Walken Impression!
Hope you enjoy and also learn about why this particular case is so important for creatives to know about and support. This court battle, if lost, will screw over all creatives forever.
Please help us by making a donation and sharing this campaign! Thank you!
Shame On You Productions Inc.
PS. If you want more details there are actual court documents filed in this Appeal at the bottom of this page.
What does Open Season on Hollywood Creatives mean?
It means this: The ability to protect your work and your creative rights are under attack!
On April 6, 2017 a seminal copyright infringement case is going up before California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Losing this case mean that Unscrupulous Producers and Studio Execs will be free to steal your work and you will have no recourse. The message to all victimized creatives everywhere:Don’t you dare file a copyright infringement claim. You will lose, the studio will run up a huge bill, and the lawyer who takes the case will be punished. No future lawyer can advise any writer to seek redress - all writers will have to look the other way, or else. To preserve intellectual property rights for all creatives; the opposition has endless resources- we need your help now! This is a battle for intellectual property rights. Whatever you can contribute for our legal aid would be most deeply appreciated! To support creatives everywhere please make a donation!
Here’s a more detailed scenario for you:
You create a script.
You register it with the WGA.
And boom! You’re invited to face-to-face meetings
Your script is in the hands of producers, talent agencies, and actors
They tell you they are going to make your movie and
You are going to direct it!
You document these meetings, as any smart creative would.
Years later your movie does get made!
BUT, wait ... some how you’re not involved…
Seems like some of those people you pitched and who now have your script, have went ahead and did it without you! Apparently they forgot to give you credit or pay you for it.
You try to resolve the issue quietly, but the other side blows you off.
So the parties must be taken to court. Unfortunately, the case is assigned to a judge, who in the past has represented a major film studio, and as far as anyone can tell, has always sided with producers/studios.
Expert witness opinion is obtained from a professor who teaches screenwriting at a major U.S. university and specifies numerous similarities between the two screenplays and declares that their screenplay written years later could not have existed coincidentally.
The judge ignores the experts - they're "irrelevant". She herself has all the expertise needed to make a decision. She concedes there are multiple similarities, some "articulable," that it's almost the same title, and concedes that the defendants had multiple accesses to your script. Yet the judge rules that the case is objectively unreasonable and should have never been filed.
She then awards $300K+ to the other side for their legal fees! That’s right. The former lawyer, who used to represent studios, now Judge, finds your case is “unreasonable”- despite the 44 similarities between the screenplays, the near-identical title, and the proven admitted access to the script by the producers.
If this decision is allowed to stand, it means open season on writers, artists, composers and all creatives everywhere. Which is why we need your help. Help us win our legal fight, empower Creatives everywhere to protect their work!
We have one shot before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This is much further in the judicial process than most creatives have reached before.
The California Society of Entertainment Lawyers (CSEL) has joined the fight are gravely concerned about how federal courts are interpreting the Copyright Act in such a way that they ALWAYS rule in favor of the studios against creatives.
This case has been fought on principle for three years against a corporate behemoth. There are countless other writers with similar cases; virtually all were forced to walk away due to exorbitant fees and outright threats from studios and unscrupulous producers. We are figuratively now the last person standing on this legal battlefield.
Any donation would be extremely helpful.
President, Shame On You Productions, Inc.