If you submit a script to a Hollywood producer who doesn't buy it, but uses the concept, do you have a claim?
On May 4, 2010, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals killed Hollywood by holding that implied contracts for the sale of ideas that were previously protected under California state law (pitch meetings for films) were preempted by the Copyright Act. My post here.
The Ninth Circuit granted rehearing en banc (before every judge on the court). My post linking to the video of the hearing en banc here.
Yesterday, in Montz v. Pilgrim (9th Cir. May 4, 2011) one year after the original Ninth Circuit three-year panel killed the Hollywood pitch claim, the full Ninth Circuit reversed the panel and held that implied contracts for the sale of ideas under California state law are not preempted by the Copyright Act. Decision below, with two dissents, required reading.
If you care about this area of law, watch the video of oral argument before the Ninth Circuit, it is excellent.
If you want to learn about how Hollywood really works, read one of the great American novels: What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg. They say that the novel is so true to life that Hollywood will never make the film. It of course involves theft of ideas, exploitation of writers, unbridled ambition and chicanery.
Montz v Pilgrim Films
Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Ninth Circuit Reverses Panel in Landmark Hollywood Theft of Ideas Case
Labels: copyright infringement, copyright law, film law, ghost hunters, hollywood accounting, implied contract, montz v pilgrim, pitch meetings, preemption, theft of ideas
Partner in Manhattan law firm Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP in New York City litigating in federal and state courts and arbitrations. Experienced trial and appellate practitioner. Author: Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters 2015-2016). The New York Law Journal called it "an indispensable guide". Serve on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, served as Chair of the Circuit Vice Presidents, Vice President for the Second Circuit and General Counsel. Member Board of Governors, National Arts Club. President, Network of Bar Leaders (2013-2014). Attorney advertising disclaimer - prior results do not guarantee success. The statements and opinions voiced here are my own and not of my law firm.