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The Legal Battle for Predator Takes an Interesting Turn

The battle for the US Copyright of Predator between the original creators Jim & John Thomas and 20th Century Studios took an interesting turn today, when a Motion Hearing (expected to be a dispute over a preliminary injunction which would halt new Disney-era Predator content from continuing until all legal disputes were resolved) instead became a dispute over where the case belonged.

 The Legal Battle for Predator Takes an Interesting Turn

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler opened the hearing opposite Daniel M. Petrocelli (legal council for Disney/20th Century Studios) and Marc Toberoff (legal council representing the Thomas Brothers) wanting to hear why the case belonged in her district.  As best as we could ascertain, similar or duplicate lawsuits by both parties were also filed in the Central District Court, the area where the contract agreement between the Thomas Brothers and 20th Century Fox originally took place (for the rights to the “Hunters” spec script back in 1986.)

Legal representation for 20th Century Studios argued that the Central district (not there in the Northern district) was actually the proper venue for this matter. They also believed the case should be dismissed, due to the improper duplicate filing.

But legal representation for the Thomas Brothers asked the Judge to rethink this position. Marc Toberoff argued that entertainment cases were a dime a dozen in Central District, and because of that, the courts are more congested. This argument seemed to imply that if the case was moved there, it would take a longer amount of time to be resolved.  Also Toberoff argued (among other things) that this copyright case was not a location specific case, plus it would get the attention it deserved if it was heard in in the Northern district.

Additional support for both parties’ arguments were previously filed but not discussed in this hearing.

So what happens now?  The Judge decided not to immediately make a decision, but rather take the matter under submission and make her decision at a later date.



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Comments: 22
  1. bb-15
    I guess you didn't learn anything from Terminator: Dark Turd.  Having a lead female in a movie is perfectly okay, look at the alien movies, but when you make it about gender norms and all that, it's a movie headed for the toilet. Watchmen series was woke as hell and was dogshit. Terminator: Dark Fate was woke as hell, it bombed. Just make a normal ass predator movie that's scary and not about gender norms. Just f**king fight the predator and shut the f**k up.

    I wanted to post about the Watchmen TV series on AVP Galaxy & this is what I could find.
    I enjoyed the series. It is pushy with its message but I got used to it. Also, such a topic (put in a blunt way) is not new to science fiction whether from Deep Space 9 all the way back to Star Trek TOS, where the sci-fi genre can have a clear message of social justice.

    While Terminator: Dark Fate bombed in terms of box office, the Watchmen TV series was a ratings success and it received 4 Primetime Emmy Awards and 7 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. So, I don’t agree that the Watchmen TV series was “dogshit” in terms of the skill in how it was put together & how it connected with the original Watchmen material.

    As for the original topic, we are talking about Disney here. With action/adventure, Disney cares about Marvel & Star Wars because that’s where the most money is.
    With the possible Predator movie, I would appreciate if anything new Predator or Alien related comes out of Disney. That would be better than nothing imo.

    ;)   
  2. SiL
    I believe you're thinking residual payments (if negotiated), where licensing fees tend to be a bigger chunk of the pie and paid out even if it doesn't make a profit.
    I'm pretty sure they're still paid for derivative works (I mean, they're credited at least) but true, it would be residuals prior to this mess getting sorted.

    Quote
    Yep! Learning that this relatively new law was for transfered copyrights 1978-present, and O'Bannon apparently sold Alien prior to that.
    True, although I imagine if his estate had been able to use this provision Fox might've been much quicker sorting it out ;D
  3. Voodoo Magic
    It seems they really want that one more Predator film in the catalog free of licensing royalties.
    It's not even free of licensing royalties, it's just at whatever rate was agreed on 35 years ago - which I'm guessing wasn't great, hence the Brothers' actions.

    Quote
    Man, Alien fans hungry for new content don't know the apparent bullet they dodged...
    Which bullet? Alien was too early to be eligible for this provision. Or do you mean something else?

    I believe you're thinking residual payments (if negotiated), where licensing fees tend to be a bigger chunk of the pie and paid out even if it doesn't make a profit.

    Quote
    Man, Alien fans hungry for new content don't know the apparent bullet they dodged...
    Which bullet? Alien was too early to be eligible for this provision. Or do you mean something else?

    Yep! Learning that this relatively new law was for transfered copyrights 1978-present, and O'Bannon apparently sold Alien prior to that.


    Don't they have a date setup for settling? I could've sworn they did and the recent thing was just getting the other two dates dropped.

    Do you mean the required meeting of both parties that California law requires prior to the Case Management Conference? If so yes, it's designed as a forum to hopefully work out their differences independently of the Court. It definitely gives them an opportunity to settle, if they can and are willing to come to an agreement. That's the million dollar question S.I.!
  4. SiL
    It seems they really want that one more Predator film in the catalog free of licensing royalties.
    It's not even free of licensing royalties, it's just at whatever rate was agreed on 35 years ago - which I'm guessing wasn't great, hence the Brothers' actions.

    EDIT

    I say this assuming they didn't sign something giving them royalties for just a few years, as you'd expect that to have been mentioned in the court filings.

    Quote
    Man, Alien fans hungry for new content don't know the apparent bullet they dodged...
    Which bullet? Alien was too early to be eligible for this provision. Or do you mean something else?
  5. Voodoo Magic
    It seems they really want that one more Predator film in the catalog free of licensing royalties.

    If Disney gets their way, I hope Skulls is a big success. Because if it fails, I can see Disney being in no rush to strike a deal / fine with letting the property languish in perpetuity.

    Man, Alien fans hungry for new content don't know the apparent bullet they dodged...
  6. SiL
    Disney/TCS doesn't really have any option but to renegotiate if they want to exploit the property for perpetuity, since they don't seem to argue against the 2023 date, so it does seem a bit weird they aren't just trying to renegotiate now :-\

    The Brothers have nothing to gain by not renegotiating, though, so it's not like a deal is inconceivable either.
  7. Voodoo Magic
    Sad that Disney just doesn't seem willing to make a deal with the Thomas
    without dragging them through lengthy painful bureaucracy.

    This is to the root of my fear for Predator and AvP the inevitable day the Thomas Brothers do get the US Copyright back, skhellter. It's easy to take things personally, especially after Fox/Disney waiting four years to reject the Thomas Bros' *termination letter for errors. Sometimes the animus is so bad, the question becomes how is anyone going to work together after all this? Because reclaiming just the Hunters license only in the US means they will have to work together for "Predator" to continue.  :-[

    * corrected word edit
  8. SiL
    I mean realistically the worst case scenario is the Brothers get the rights and TCS renegotiates for those rights and life moves the f**k on.

    Ironically, having a film tied up in legal limbo gives the Brothers more bargaining power than they would have otherwise.
  9. SuperiorIronman
    If Skulls does complete I wouldn't be surprised if it slipped out like the Roger Corman Fantastic Four and Predator has a mysterious 5th entry floating around burnt to a disk you can only find in some back area of an anime convention.

  10. SiL
    Until or unless an injunction is passed, the status quo is for Twentieth Century Studios to keep exploiting the property.

    If the injunction is passed, we have an answer - no content until the matter is settled. If it's not passed, we pretty much also have an answer - keep on trucking until the matter is settled. TCS has already shown they're gonna keep trucking along until they're legally forced to stop.

    F13 was a messier case of whether the provision was even allowed to be invoked. The issue here seems a bit clearer-cut -- did they make an error on their earliest filing or not. If they did, TCS and Disney have until 2023 to renegotiate.
  11. Proteus
    So Skulls continues to potentially film the whole movie that may never get a release depending on the delayed verdict?

    I can't even imagine working under those conditions, knowing any time the proverbial shoe can drop. So stressful....


    So, I don't want to speak too soon but could this be like the Friday the 13th lawsuit in limbo back n forth no resolve for years and years.

    Unfortunately, I'm starting to get that vibe too, and it just makes me ill. :'(


    Interesting Turn? More like a statement about legal legislation and their prioritizations per locale. I'm not entirely impressed with this. Sounds like its more of a State issue than a legal one.

    I guess things we find interesting is relative to us as individuals, but I don’t believe reporting on any of this legal craziness is intended to impress you, to be honest. Rather just to inform.  :)

    The important matter here would be whether or not content is allowed to be made even if this does drag on for years. Well, at least until 2023. This is such a frustrating mess because we don’t have any definitives here, only speculations. At least with F13 you KNOW content can’t be made, at least under the Jason Voorhees name. Here it’s a “will they/won’t they” be allowed to keep making Predator content during this lawsuit. Today we could have known, but it just seems like this judge didn’t want to handle something of this nature. So possibly on to someone else, and now we’re left wondering, if it does, how THEY may proceed in determining an injunction. The legal system can sometimes move slow, even when something requires immediate resolve. As someone mentioned, we may very well have SKULLS complete filming before we get an answer. And then it could be “well, the film won’t see the light of day now” or “man, that was close, but here’s the release date!”
  12. Voodoo Magic
    So Skulls continues to potentially film the whole movie that may never get a release depending on the delayed verdict?

    I can't even imagine working under those conditions, knowing any time the proverbial shoe can drop. So stressful....


    So, I don't want to speak too soon but could this be like the Friday the 13th lawsuit in limbo back n forth no resolve for years and years.

    Unfortunately, I'm starting to get that vibe too, and it just makes me ill. :'(


    Interesting Turn? More like a statement about legal legislation and their prioritizations per locale. I'm not entirely impressed with this. Sounds like its more of a State issue than a legal one.

    I guess things we find interesting is relative to us as individuals, but I don’t believe reporting on any of this legal craziness is intended to impress you, to be honest. Rather just to inform.  :)
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