A jury trial has finally been set in the ongoing battle for the U.S. Copyright of Predator between the original creators Jim & John Thomas and 20th Century Studios. And for anyone who hoped this would be resolved quickly in the courts is unfortunately due for a rude awakening and a very long wait.
Alien vs. Predator Galaxy has learned that the honorable George H. Wu, United States Central District of California Judge, has set the Jury Trial for the legal battle over Predator to begin on the 19th of April, 2022.
For anyone unfamiliar with the case, original writers Jim and John Thomas filed a lawsuit this past April against 20th Century Studios to reclaim the U.S. rights to their “Hunters” screenplay which became the basis for the 1987 film “Predator”. The Thomas Brothers were seeking to reclaim these rights under the U.S. copyright law termination provision, which permits creators to regain ownership of properties they have created after 35 years (as long as it wasn’t a work-for-hire.)
The dispute between 20th Century Studios and the Thomas Brothers has never been about the Brothers’ right to reclaim the U.S. Copyright to Hunters (at least for now), but rather when the Brothers are entitled to it. Jim and John Thomas believe they should have reclaimed the rights already this year, but 20th Century Studios and Disney (due to some errors made including in two legal termination notices) doesn’t believe the rights should revert to the Brothers until 2023 – hence the lawsuit.
Predator fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the honorable Judge Wu has not issued any orders for a Preliminary Injunction which would stop all new Predator creative works from continuing until this jury trial was concluded, so it would seem that projects like the Dan Trachtenberg directed Predator film “Skulls” will safely continue and complete production uninterrupted.
Now leading up to this April 19th 2022 jury trial, legal representation for both parties will be keeping busy in preparation with court scheduled benchmarks to meet including Amended Pleadings by 7/23/2021, a Status Conference set for 12/20/2021, Discovery cut-off by 1/4/2022, motions due by 3/7/2022, and a Final Pre-trial Conference set for 4/7/2022.
And with a last date to conduct a settlement conference set for 12/16/2021, it’s still feasibly possible that both the Thomas Brothers and 20th Century Studios can come to an agreement and settle this case prior to it ever going to trial.
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