Monday, July 29, 2013

Copyright Law - Ninth Circuit: Plaintiff With Unreasonable Case Against Filmmakers Hammered On Attorneys Fees

Screenplays, Scenes-a-Faire Doctrine, Attorneys Fees

Gilbert v. New Line Productions, Inc., 2012 WL 2993803 (9th Circuit July 23, 2012).  Attorneys awarded to defendant filmmakers for objectively unreasonable claims made by woman who wrote screenplays about a meddlesome mother-in-law.  No substantial similarity.  Plot lines and standard elements protected by the scenes-a-faire doctrine, which protects elements that flow naturally from standard plot lines.  Attorneys fees appropriate, but remanded for court to explain in detail what rate and time reasonable in a related action where the award did not specify these details.
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