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true story/copyright

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by w4d_, Jan 24, 2004.

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  1. w4d_

    w4d_ Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Question:

    Let's say a screenwriter has found a good idea for a script from a true story from the seventies, about a regular guy who accomplished special things.

    The man is now deceased. His wife is still living.

    The wife will have to be interviewed, and the screenwriter is more than willing to offer a hefty percentage if the script gains any success.

    So, what is the process?

    How can both parties be protected?

    If the screenwritertakes the initiateive to write the script, then approach the widow what should the agreement consist of?

    Should the writer hire a lwayer? What type? What's a resonable price for it?

    thanks.
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Ideas are not protectible and the history if a true story might not necessarily be copyrightable, e.g. anyone can write a story about Joe Naimath's Jet victory in the Super Bowl over the Colts. However, if you wanted to delve into specifics, you may need to interview Joe. What would happen is that an attorney would draft a contract that each would agree to all rights relating to the script being divided in a certain way. The complications don't stop there as the deal would also need to cover other income, e.g. licensing rights, etc. You do not want to do this yourself -- definitely. If you need an attorney for reference, let us know.

     
  3. w4d_

    w4d_ Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the information.

    I'm doing some preliminary research now, but in the near furture I might want to get the name of an attorney from you. I'm considering flying to speak with the widow, but before I do, it would probably be wise to have things worked out in case of any unfortold events.

    Another related question:

    You exemplified your argument with a Joe Namath scenario.
    I woulf assume that the events of his life shown during games , in the news, etc. would be public domain.

    If a writer was considering doing a national "sporting event" (world little league championship, national high school track, etc)
    would rights still need to be secured?
    Would the a story about a team that was in the national spotlight be considered public domain?
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    The actual footage of certain events might not be public domain but the fact that they happened (the Joe Naimath 'guaratee' of victory) are all facts and events that are certainly fair game.

     

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