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Old 12-28-2019, 08:39 PM   #1
Travis
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Default Possible Stolen Script

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Long story short, a major network is producing a show that sounds EXACTLY like my screenplay. The network released an extended log line(more of a paragraph) about the show. It's set in the same region, with a female character in the same line of work, concealing a family secret and the show even has the same unusual title... (there are additional details that are the same).

I was out with this script just over a year ago to a few of the major management companies. The script went out to several financiers as a directing vehicle for myself. Momentum slowly died and it went nowhere.

Question is... shall I contact the producers of the show myself first or lawyer up immediately? Any thoughts appreciated.

The script is of course registered with the WGA, but more importantly I have a copyright on it.

Thank you.

Last edited by Travis : 12-28-2019 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:19 PM   #2
Satriales
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Happy Holidays Everyone!

Long story short, a major network is producing a show that sounds EXACTLY like my screenplay. The network released an extended log line(more of a paragraph) about the show. It's set in the same region, with a female character in the same line of work, concealing a family secret and the show even has the same unusual title... (there are additional details that are the same).

I was out with this script just over a year ago to a few of the major management companies. The script went out to several financiers as a directing vehicle for myself. Momentum slowly died and it went nowhere.

Question is... shall I contact the producers of the show myself first or lawyer up immediately? Any thoughts appreciated.

The script is of course registered with the WGA, but more importantly I have a copyright on it.

Thank you.
My first instinct is to call bs. Of course, I have zero evidence that it is bs. Sure, lawyer up. But out of curiosity, what evidence do you have that it is stolen?
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Old 12-29-2019, 06:24 AM   #3
Done Deal Pro
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

I would suggest contacting a lawyer first in a situation like this. Did anything actually get stolen? Who knows? Maybe. But very possibly not, too. Similar to almost exact ideas do come up - titles and story-lines. (I've had it happen to me as have many others.)

If you truly believe something took place -there is no question in your mind- and you have the money to hire an attorney, then have an entertainment lawyer who knows copyright well too hopefully, look over your evidence and see if you have a strong case before doing anything or saying anything to anyone. (Obviously, you'll need to see their script too.) Contacting the producers will alert them there is an issue and most likely give them time to cover their tracks & lawyer up IF there is even a problem. Studios and networks deal with this stuff all the time.

Make sure you have a great case, more than enough proof, etc. then you and your lawyer can decide if it's worth all the money to proceed or not from there. Even then, it could be a very long, tough & expensive road to go down.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:34 AM   #4
Incognito
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

let is go to production... then come after them.

They will may more likely settle a case and pay you out if they have already invested millions.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:59 AM   #5
Travis
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Thanks for the feedback. It’s difficult to know how to gauge this situation. Someone asked if I have proof. The “proof” is that the setting, storyline, lead character and title are the same. They are nearing production from what I understand.

I’ve decided NOT to contact them. I’m going to get a lawyer.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:11 AM   #6
JoeNYC
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Travis, contacting an attorney at this point is premature. I suggest to wait to see how many details in their execution are similar. An attorney is going to want to know this information.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:31 AM   #7
Travis
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Thanks, Joe.
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:20 PM   #8
Northbank
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
The “proof” is that the setting, storyline, lead character and title are the same.
This means just about nothing to a case like this. 99% of these cases are pure coincidence driven by a combination of what's selling, what's in the zeitgeist etc. You need to show direct access, so was your script requested by anyone directly involved in the making of the show that is like yours?
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Done Deal Pro gave you the right advice. Get a lawyer.


Aside from that, my non-lawyer comment is that you really need a copy of the script that may have been derived from yours. I think that this will all come down to form (similarity of their dialogue and action in comparison to your script) and opportunity (whether people connected with their script had some kind of contact with yours).


Just my opinion. Get a lawyer if you want to pursue this.
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Thanks for the feedback. It’s difficult to know how to gauge this situation. Someone asked if I have proof. The “proof” is that the setting, storyline, lead character and title are the same. They are nearing production from what I understand.

I think it was about 10 years ago I was browsing the "deals" section of DDP, and there were three stories listed as sold, to three different prodcos, by three different writers, that were basically mirror images of one another. They revolved around something oddball like frisbee or chess or spelling bees which is why it stuck out at the time.


The chances that your situation is also a coincidence is very high. The chances that a major network stole your idea is very low.
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