SCARY HORROR STUFF: Friday the 13th: Jason Files a Lawsuit and Slashes Your Throat
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday the 13th: Jason Files a Lawsuit and Slashes Your Throat

Since when did Voorhees don a suit with a briefcase and a carefully planned opening statement? Apparently right here in the industry involving screenwriter rights and franchise ownership. Yes, it's true: there are some legal issues going on with the Friday the 13th brand that we've all come to know and love....

But Just in Case You're Not in the Know About Jason's Legal Problems, Here's the Scoop:

There's a reason why we haven't seen much going on regarding Jason and Friday the 13th: we've got Victor Miller, the original screenwriter of the original back in 1980, throwing up his own legal machete to terminate his grant of rights. What does that mean?

He basically wants ownership of the brand back, effectively by July 2018. Fair enough.

However, according to the plaintiffs of the case, Horror, Inc., and the Manny Company, Miller has no such right and shouldn't have that motion from way back when terminated given the script for the original was a work made for hire and an idea specifically manifested by the director of the original
film, Sean S. Cunningham.

Lots of legalese, I know (not really), but here's an actual quote from the complaint the plaintiffs wrote up:

"Miller had never written a horror screenplay prior to his being hired by Cunningham and was guided in the process, and directly supervised, by Cunningham. Accordingly, Miller entered into an employment agreement with the Manny Company pursuant to which Miller wrote a screenplay for the Film as a work for hire (the 'Screenplay')."

Make sense? A lot, actually. It sounds like Miller has a major hill to climb, and this hill certainly doesn't have any eyes on him (sorry, Craven, had to plug that one in). However, here are my thoughts:

It's All About What's Written on Paper

Artwork. Copy. Content. Publishing. There's a lot of legalese into all of that creative stuff, so one thing that can blow this whole thing out of the water is if Miller himself had to physically sign any paper saying that he has no copyright to the script. If that's the case, Miller loses hands down.

However, I don't think it's that cut and dry. After all, the guy had to file for a grant of rights back then. He can't file for that grant of rights if he didn't have sole rights to the franchise itself, right?

However, the issue in that case only revolved around the original screenplay of the original movie, and not necessarily the franchise itself. In other words, Miller may have owned the actual screenplay, but he might not have owned future projects involving the brand itself of Friday the 13th, but that's up for debate....

It's an Interesting Case, and One to Look Into

You can actually check out the entire legal complaint right here. This could be anybody's game. Personally, if any creative legally surrenders rights, I don't think there should be any recourse later down the road for that creative to say "I CHANGE MY MIND, AND I WANT MY PROPERTY BACK." Sorry, but once you let the creation go, it's never yours again.

That's just my opinion, though. When it comes to copyright law, that's one muddy Crystal Lake to wade into. What do you guys think? Should Jason come back to where it all began? Or should he stick with the future?

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The Top 10 Streaming Scary Movies of Today (According to Netflix)

Given that Netflix really is the master of their own data, how many times a viewer streams The Ridiculous 6, or what films don't get watched all the way straight through, or how many times someone watches an episode of Bill Nye Saves the World, it was easy for them to come up with the list based on just one percentage: 70 percent.


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