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Old 04-25-2012, 07:21 AM   #1
sherbetbizarre
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Default Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

I'm guessing he's the first writer or director to address the issue pertaining to their own work?

It probably helps he's no longer working inside the Hollywood system!

This is his response after a "copyright complaint" was issued against Sheridan Cleland and his site --

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From its roots three years earlier, in 2009 Cleland created myPDFscripts, a platform which enabled him to share his passion with others. In recent months, however, things have not been easy. To cut a long story short, Cleland has been plagued with DMCA takedown requests from movie studios, one in particular.

November last year Cleland was forced to take down the site after Universal issued complaints against more than a hundred scripts. One of them, at position #69 on the list, was was from the classic movie ‘Repo Man’. Interestingly, its creator Alex Cox contacted Cleland about the takedown directly.

“I believe you have received a ‘takedown’ notice from Universal to remove the script. I do not agree with this. I’m very pleased you have my script on your site and would like to see it remain. If you would like to add any other of my scripts, get in touch. You are welcome to post them,” Cox wrote.

But given the direct interest of a powerful company such as Universal, Cleland was concerned of the consequences should he simply repost the script. So he contacted the studio for clarification.

“Mr. Cox is the author of the Repo Man screenplay; however, his rights to and interests in the screenplay for the film were granted to Universal Pictures, which is the exclusive owner of Repo Man throughout the world in perpetuity, including, without limitation, all copyrights in the film and in the underlying screenplay,” the studio responded. “Accordingly, Universal stands by its request that you take-down the Repo Man screenplay from your website.”

So, if posting the actual script was off limits, maybe it would be OK for Cleland to post a link to the copy of the script that Alex Cox hosts on his own website? Apparently not.

“Please don’t post the links,” advised Universal. “I don’t believe Mr. Cox is authorized to post the script on his personal website either.”

Cox disagrees...
Full story at https://torrentfreak.com/repo-man%E2...laints-120424/

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“The studios, including Universal, are pretty clearly a criminal enterprise, operating an illegal blacklist and functioning as a price-fixing cartel. They actually have legislation which permits them to operate as a cartel abroad (the law is called Webb-Pomerene) but absolutely no right to operate as a cartel domestically. They do so because they’re powerful and have politicians in their pockets,” Cox notes.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:26 PM   #2
Richmond Weems
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

The thing is it's not his anymore, he sold it.

If I sell a short story, the rights are bought for a limited time (usually a year), and I can't publish that story anywhere else. My guess is that Universal bought the script outright so they own the rights outright. It's theirs to do with as they please. Not Cox's.

Having said that, I don't know why studios can't come to some kind of agreement with authors about having their screenplays available online via a personal website.

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

Who has the right to publish the screenplay in book form?

Is that part of the WGA's separation of rights? If not, should it be? Especially now that writers can self-publish for kindle so easily?
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

What's weird about it to me is that the movies have been made and the script, by definition, then has no resale value, since remakes typically involve a new take on the old story by a new writer. If it was a matter of scripts by pros/sold writers that had NOT been produced yet, the policy would sort of make sense, in that the studios would in effect be protecting their investment with the hope that someday when the stars aligned, the movie would get made. But otherwise, it just seems irrational. And it's NOT a new issue. Raymond Chandler once commented on the fact there was no library of movie scripts available because the studios owned them and would not allow it. And that was 60 years ago.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

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Originally Posted by iggy View Post
Who has the right to publish the screenplay in book form?

Is that part of the WGA's separation of rights? If not, should it be? Especially now that writers can self-publish for kindle so easily?
It is part of the MBA. It's one of the explicitly enumerated rights within separated rights. The writer retains the right to publish the screenplay in book form, which surely includes publishing it as a PDF on a web site.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

The full blog entry on MY PDF SCRIPTS cited in this second hand article lists several other writers who have "donated" their screenplays to his website, only to have the studio's legal department demand they be taken down.

As I said in some other thread on this - it's really short sighted in the part of the studios, because it's killing new screenwriters and new material. I learned how to write screenplays by reading them - I think almost everyone does. Take away the ability to read screenplays and you have no new screenwriters.

If the studios want to control the screenplays, they need to begin selling them *in screenplay form* rather than books where you have no idea of pagination and the script is the heavily rewritten shooting script rather than the version that sold. A new writer needs to see what a screenplay really looks like, not the studio's "safe" version. So studios need to set up a way to sell their scripts.

This policy will kill the film business.

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Old 04-25-2012, 11:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

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Originally Posted by Paul Striver View Post
It is part of the MBA. It's one of the explicitly enumerated rights within separated rights. The writer retains the right to publish the screenplay in book form, which surely includes publishing it as a PDF on a web site.
Thanks.

I wonder what the studios would do if all screenwriters suddenly self-published for Kindle. It'd be awesome to have access to so many scripts.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

Better start grabbing what you can now. Sites with screenplays are dropping fast.

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

I'm pretty sure the reason for not even wanting the public to have access to produced scripts, is a sinister conspiracy perpetrated by the studios at the behest of directors and producers, so that no one can see how they ruin good scripts.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Alex Cox defends sharing of his old scripts...

Yeah, it sucks.
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