Warner Bros., Disney and Skydance Receive Copyright Termination Notice over existing IP, potentially giving other studios an in.
A new copyright over Intellextual property lawsuit has been filed against David Ellison’s Skydance Media and The Terminator franchise. Read on for more details on Terminator Screenwriter Intellectual-Property…
CelebNMovies247.com has learned that Gale Anne Hurd, the original’s writer (The Terminator 1984 movie), has moved to terminate a copyright grant made 35 years ago.
Gale Anne Hurd has taken back her Terminator Screenwriter Intellectual-Property from Skydance.
As a result, per records filed at the U.S. Copyright Office, David Ellison’s Skydance Media — which acquired the rights from his sister, Megan Ellison, who bought them for $20 million in 2011 at an auction — could lose rights to make Terminator movies starting in November 2020.
What this means is that, if Skydance wants to do another Terminator movie, they will have to renegotiate backend with the both the original director James Cameron, and Gale Anne Hurd the orignal writer of the story. It also means that Hurd will have a 50-50 ownership split with James Cameron, according to a source.
This screws up a lot for Skydance and their plans after Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1) since the film was sort of a reboot for the franchise and a set up for more sequels.
The Hollywood Reporter has some shocking details that are legit practice:
Terminator isn’t an anomaly, it’s a preview of what’s to come. In the late 1970s, Congress amended the law to allow authors to grab back rights from studios after waiting a few decades. Until now, the termination provision has largely been exploited by musicians, not screenwriters. But records show a flurry of termination notices in the past year — under law, they can come 35 years after publication — which threatens to unsettle who owns the ability to make sequels and reboots of iconic films from the mid- to late-’80s.
And it’s NOT stopping there with the Terminator, oh no, more writers are taking back their screenwriting rights:
More works that could change hands: Gary K. Wolf is looking to terminate Disney’s rights to the book that became Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The heirs of Beetlejuice screenwriter Michael McDowell aim to do the same for the script to the 1998 Warner Bros. film. The family of novelist Roderick Thorp is terminating Fox’s grip on Nothing Lasts Forever, aka Die Hard. Other works subject to termination include Predator and Nightmare on Elm Street, with authors like Stephen King and David Mamet also on the warpath.
This brings it full circle to the Friday The 13th Lawsuit filed by screenwriter Victor Miller.
Intellectual-property attorney Marc Toberoff represents Miller and a growing number of other writers. He keeps careful records about what’s coming up for termination and is winning clients. He is becoming a nuisance for studios and this will eventually force studios to it down for talks for a “Let’s make a deal” session.
Why now is probably best explained by the statutory clock (termination notices must be sent at precise time during the copyright term), though a judge’s decision last year confirming the validity of a termination notice sent by Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller certainly raised awareness among authors. (The producer of that film is appealing on grounds that Miller’s script was penned as a work-for-hire with no termination rights.)
Here is what entertainment attorney Larry Zerner had to say:
Since the author has to give at least two years notice of the termination, that gives the studios two years notice that it’s ‘use it or lose it. Even if Paramount was on the fence about a remake, once the termination went into effect, it would be out of their hands or they would have to pay a much larger fee.