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Old 12-30-2019, 03:32 PM   #11
Travis
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Thank you all for the sound advice. Im working on finding a connection(if any) between one particular management company and the network. Appreciate all the wisdom.

Happy Holidays
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:07 PM   #12
Satriales
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Thank you all for the sound advice. Im working on finding a connection(if any) between one particular management company and the network. Appreciate all the wisdom.

Happy Holidays
I like detective work if you want to throw a case my way. Feel free to DM.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:45 PM   #13
finalact4
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

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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.
I know that it probably felt like a shock, but based on what you've said above there's nothing to indicate that someone stole your script. Perhaps there are more similarities?

Titles are not protected under copyright laws, so even if you connect the management company to your script the title similarity is meaningless.

Parallel development happens all the time. And even in the same year.

Armageddon vs Deep Impact
White House Down vs Olympus Has Fallen
Top Gun vs Iron Eagle
Tombstone vs Wyatt Erp
Executive Decision vs Air Force One
The Craft vs Little Witches
Murder at 1600 vs Absolute Power
Mission to Mars vs Red Planet
United 93 vs Flight 93
Skyline vs Battle: Los Angeles

Having a similar region for the setting and the main character having the same job title is NOT going to substantiate a stolen spec, it's just not. Sometimes stories can seem specifically similar but once you get into the exact execution they are not all that similar as they seem on the surface.

I'm not a lawyer, but hiring a lawyer on this little evidence seems premature as JoeNYC stated. You just don't have enough information and until you can prove that there are substantially exact elements, I can't see how this can possibly move forward.

The truth of the matter is, that if they wanted to copy something from your script, they would offer to buy it outright and simply negate the need to concern themselves with your script.

That's not to say, that someone couldn't have read your script a year ago, and in a notes meeting a year later think that they came up with an idea for a character or title when somewhere in their subconscious they pulled that bit of information out of a previous experience. I've watched a writer that read my script offer up an idea to another writer on a public writer's forum the very specific circumstance, setting and scene from my script thinking he was giving a "note suggestion," when actually it came from my script. That kind of error can happen. That doesn't mean it's deliberate.

You want to be very careful about how you proceed. The last thing you want to do is FALSELY accuse someone of something that turns out to be far fetched, because you could, more than likely, be immediately banned from ever submitting material to any of the people involved in that production.

I'm not saying do nothing, I'm saying be certain before you do anything, because it's highly unlikely that anyone stole anything from you.

Good luck,
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:08 PM   #14
Northbank
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Thank you all for the sound advice. Im working on finding a connection(if any) between one particular management company and the network. Appreciate all the wisdom.

Happy Holidays
I'll tell you now that the management company knows the network, so now what? You have to show that the manager sent it to the network, not just that they know each other.

Also, managers are in the business of finding writers, repping them and selling their work so if you were invited to submit your query (you didn't send unsolicited, did you?) then the manager had two choices:

1 - Sign this great new writer, sell their script to a network, generally make their dreams come true and be a hero and a rep with a hot new sold writer.

2 - Take that idea from the good script, give it to another writer (or however many it takes until someone wants to write it), wait for them to spec it, hope it's as good as what you read already, go through however many drafts that takes and then sell it while knowing that there's a potential lawsuit.
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:06 PM   #15
finalact4
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

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I'll tell you now that the management company knows the network, so now what? You have to show that the manager sent it to the network, not just that they know each other.

Also, managers are in the business of finding writers, repping them and selling their work so if you were invited to submit your query (you didn't send unsolicited, did you?) then the manager had two choices:

1 - Sign this great new writer, sell their script to a network, generally make their dreams come true and be a hero and a rep with a hot new sold writer.

2 - Take that idea from the good script, give it to another writer (or however many it takes until someone wants to write it), wait for them to spec it, hope it's as good as what you read already, go through however many drafts that takes and then sell it while knowing that there's a potential lawsuit.
Number two is simply not a realistic scenario. If a manager believes the script is worthy, he DOESN'T HAVE TO WAIT, it costs him nothing to send it out as is. A reputable manager, or even one that is NOT reputable, simply wouldn't take this chance-- at least not deliberately.

When you sell a script you have to state that you are the sole owner of the copyright, if it can be proven that you are NOT, then YOU will be liable for the lawsuit, not the studio or network.

And it will FOREVER tarnish your name in the industry.

There's no upside to stealing an idea of a script that you already like, when you can rep the writer or hip pocket it for free.

I don't believe anyone would take that risk. It's totally unnecessary.
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:54 PM   #16
Satriales
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Default Re: Possible Stolen Script

Based on stories Ive heard from my manager, you people are far too trusting. Before I was exposed to the industry I assumed everyone one of these my sh1t was stolen!! posts were nonsense. And in most cases, I still believe that there are easy parallel thinking explanations. Proving it even if it was stolen? Next to impossible. But the stories you hear? Im not going to dismiss these out of hand anymore. Hell, Bono (hope hes still with us) told a story where his reps encouraged him to give an idea to another writer. Just like that. Not co-writing. And thats the sh1t they did to his face. Now that does not rise to anything actionable of course. But there is a reason these spec farm places will constantly pump you for loglines.
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