Jim and John Thomas suing Disney to reclaim Predator rights

Started by Kailem, Apr 16, 2021, 12:46:54 AM

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Jim and John Thomas suing Disney to reclaim Predator rights (Read 46,487 times)

SM

Quote from: TomT on Apr 16, 2021, 02:45:03 PM
Quote from: Drukathi on Apr 16, 2021, 12:49:17 PM
I think it is worth waiting for several years in order to get a good film that respects the viewer and the franchise, than get another exploitation film, which will cause a ton of hate and fail at the box-office, like its wbroken brothers.
I think it's been decades since the last good film in the franchise. I really think someone should take away both franchises from 20th Century Fox/Disney, they are absolutely incompetent and very very stupid, Fox managed to f up both franchises for decades and Disney's first moves are even worse. They shouldn't be anywhere near both Alien and Predator, someone else should take the reins.

"someone"  :laugh:

Bruno Borgia

Bruno Borgia

#91
Really hoping Disney wins. If the brothers win, no more AvP anything, and merchandising from NECA etc. may also be in jeopardy. It would be a catastrophe. Also Disney has way more funds that they can invest into Predator than the brothers. People don't realize how bad it is for them to get the rights.

Lost_Hunter

Wow no way, if Disney wins it's a crushing blow to creatives everywhere. They represent a larger evil. One company should not own everything. This is a franchise we love and it belongs with it's creators. Legally the rights should revert back to them. Clear right and wrong here.

molasar

molasar

#93
Quote from: TomT on Apr 16, 2021, 08:47:07 PM
Their ideas for both Alien and Predator, and what they've done with Star Wars (and I'm not even SW fan) tell me everything.

Actually some of their ideas for SW comic books are quite good. Especially those with Darth Vader.



Quote from: Lost_Hunter on Apr 16, 2021, 10:31:44 PM
Wow no way, if Disney wins it's a crushing blow to creatives everywhere. They represent a larger evil. One company should not own everything. This is a franchise we love and it belongs with it's creators. Legally the rights should revert back to them. Clear right and wrong here.

But what is good for them if the rights cover only a space hunter concept under name "Hunter"? Not the music, not a creature design.

Proteus

Quote from: Lost_Hunter on Apr 16, 2021, 10:31:44 PM
Wow no way, if Disney wins it's a crushing blow to creatives everywhere. They represent a larger evil. One company should not own everything. This is a franchise we love and it belongs with it's creators. Legally the rights should revert back to them. Clear right and wrong here.

While I'm apt to agree with you, we don't know what the intentions are of guys who haven't done a dang thing in Hollywood in ages. For all we know they could be harboring some deep pettiness and decide, "Screw all of you! No one is getting this franchise!" and then live out the rest of their days sitting on property they don't intend on doing anything with other than gaining royalties. Also, going back into the hands of the originators isn't always a good thing. Am I saying Disney is any better? No. But at least we were set to have SOMETHING soon. A new film. New comics. Figures still going strong. And now all of that is about to come to a screeching halt.

SiL

SiL

#95
[Insert factually incorrect post here]

Huggs

Quote from: Lost_Hunter on Apr 16, 2021, 10:31:44 PM
Wow no way, if Disney wins it's a crushing blow to creatives everywhere. They represent a larger evil. One company should not own everything.

So Disney is the real Weyland Yutani?

molasar

molasar

#97
Quote from: SiL on Apr 16, 2021, 11:20:55 PM
That's not how it works. They would get the rights to the intellectual property of Predator, as the property is derivative of their work. The music and creature design were made as part of telling that story.

Creature design is work for hire. There's a reason Stan Winston isn't credited in any of the movies his team didn't work on, and why nobody needed their permission to make the character.

Is it 100% for sure? Any law citations for it that specific music and creature design are part of it?

I have noticed you retracted your comment. Anyways it will be interesting to find out how it really works.

SiL

OK, so the reason I deleted my above comment is I realised I was speaking from ignorance and decided to actually read the complaint. There are two key points that basically address everything we're worried about (emphasis mine):

Quote25. Under the termination provisions, prior "derivative works"  "can continue to be" distributed as before. 17 U.S.C. 203(b)(I). Plaintiff's recovery of the U.S. copyright to their Screenplay therefor does no prevent Defendants or their licensees from continuing to exploit prior derivative works, including the original Predator film and TCFFC's five sequel films.

26. In addition, because the the Copyright Act has no extra-territorial application, the foreign rights to Plaintiff's Screenplay remains with TCFF. As a result, after the effective date of Plaintiff's termination, new derivative Predator works would simply require a license from the Plaintiffs, thereby enabling the authors to fairly participate with others at a level reflective of their work's market value. Accordingly, Plaintiffs' exercise of their copyright termination does not prevent the exploitation of the Predator franchise; it simply allows its original creators to, at long last, participate in the financial rewards of their creation, just as Congress had intended.

Basically the law they're invoking was designed to allow authors to re-negotiate their cut for their works after the market value of their work was proved with time.

This is the key thing. When they sold Hunters and royalties were assigned, nobody had any idea if it would take off and spawn a decades-long franchise, or crash and burn. Time has proved the market value of the piece; this law is specifically designed to allow authors to have better bargaining power to get more of the value their IP created.

So is it about money?

Sure.

But it's about giving original authors the legal framework to get better compensation should their works spawn multi-million/billion dollar franchises, without being stuck with pennies-and-cents royalties grossly disproportionate to the actual value of the piece.

Also worth noting, this law is not applicable to work-for-hire. The reason the Thomas Brothers have this option is they wrote Hunters on spec, not commission.

It also states that the Brothers have presented two alternate dates, in 2022 and 2023, in response to Disney's claims that they're actually entitled to a longer waiting period (they're not, but they figured they'd hedge their bets and present the options just in case).

So if the Brothers win the case and Predator dries up, it's because Disney/Fox is too f**king stingy to pay their licenses, not because they lost the rights.

Local Trouble


SiL

Ooh, also interesting: this only applies to works after Jan 1 1978, so I'm pretty sure O'Bannon's estate can't pull this with Alien.

Voodoo Magic

Quote from: SiL on Apr 16, 2021, 11:44:35 PM
OK, so the reason I deleted my above comment is I realised I was speaking from ignorance and decided to actually read the complaint. There are two key points that basically address everything we're worried about (emphasis mine):

Quote25. Under the termination provisions, prior "derivative works"  "can continue to be" distributed as before. 17 U.S.C. 203(b)(I). Plaintiff's recovery of the U.S. copyright to their Screenplay therefor does no prevent Defendants or their licensees from continuing to exploit prior derivative works, including the original Predator film and TCFFC's five sequel films.

26. In addition, because the the Copyright Act has no extra-territorial application, the foreign rights to Plaintiff's Screenplay remains with TCFF. As a result, after the effective date of Plaintiff's termination, new derivative Predator works would simply require a license from the Plaintiffs, thereby enabling the authors to fairly participate with others at a level reflective of their work's market value. Accordingly, Plaintiffs' exercise of their copyright termination does not prevent the exploitation of the Predator franchise; it simply allows its original creators to, at long last, participate in the financial rewards of their creation, just as Congress had intended.

Basically the law they're invoking was designed to allow authors to re-negotiate their cut for their works after the market value of their work was proved with time.

This is the key thing. When they sold Hunters and royalties were assigned, nobody had any idea if it would take off and spawn a decades-long franchise, or crash and burn. Time has proved the market value of the piece; this law is specifically designed to allow authors to have better bargaining power to get more of the value their IP created.

So is it about money?

Sure.

But it's about giving original authors the legal framework to get better compensation should their works spawn multi-million/billion dollar franchises, without being stuck with pennies-and-cents royalties grossly disproportionate to the actual value of the piece.

Also worth noting, this law is not applicable to work-for-hire. The reason the Thomas Brothers have this option is they wrote Hunters on spec, not commission.

It also states that the Brothers have presented two alternate dates, in 2022 and 2023, in response to Disney's claims that they're actually entitled to a longer waiting period (they're not, but they figured they'd hedge their bets and present the options just in case).

So if the Brothers win the case and Predator dries up, it's because Disney/Fox is too f**king stingy to pay their licenses, not because they lost the rights.


I read it too and I believe your second post still has some inaccuracies SiL.

QuoteBasically the law they're invoking was designed to allow authors to re-negotiate their cut for their works after the market value of their work was proved with time.

The law they are invoking is The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §203(a), that provides authors with the inalienable right to recapture the copyright to their creative work, after a lengthy waiting period, by statutorily terminating without cause prior transfer(s) of copyright, provided advance notice of termination is given and accepted for recordation by the U.S. Copyright Office.

They're pursuing ownership back. But this only applies to US copyright, not foreign.

QuoteThis is the key thing. When they sold Hunters and royalties were assigned, nobody had any idea if it would take off and spawn a decades-long franchise, or crash and burn. Time has proved the market value of the piece; this law is specifically designed to allow authors to have better bargaining power to get more of the value their IP created.

It's not to obtain better bargaining power. It's to obtain all the power in the US on future projects, the actual US copyright which won't require them to bargain at all. They can dictate US license fees as they see fit.

QuoteSo if the Brothers win the case and Predator dries up, it's because Disney/Fox is too f**king stingy to pay their licenses, not because they lost the rights.

If the Thomas Brothers win, they don't have to license Predator to Disney in the US for new Predator projects. Now the law allows Disney the exclusive opportunity to negotiate a US re-license of Predator with the Thomas Brothers after the Thomas Brothers served notice, but that ends the effective date of the termination. And that would also be recognizing and accepting the Thomas Brothers claim, like Skydance did with Cameron on Terminator.

SiL

SiL

#102
QuoteThe law they are invoking is The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §203(a), that provides authors with the inalienable right to recapture the copyright to their creative work, after a lengthy waiting period, by statutorily terminating without cause prior transfer(s) of copyright, provided advance notice of termination is given and accepted for recordation by the U.S. Copyright Office.

They're pursuing ownership back. But this only applies to US copyright, not foreign.
The very next paragraph of the claim (Paragraph 6, Page 2, under "Nature of the Complaint") points out that the termination right was specifically enacted to address the unequal bargaining position of the authors. This is why I specifically referred to the nature of the law they were invoking.

Whether the Brothers intend to use the law to shut down all future productions is unknown; we don't know their motive. But they hardly win from this if they just use it to take the rights and shut down future productions. Disney is still free to exploit existing derivations to its heart's content, as well as retaining the rights in overseas territories. Skulls is already in production and wouldn't be affected.

I'd like to imagine they're not being petty, and just want a bigger slice of the considerable pie their spec script created.


EDIT

On further reading Skulls might be affected, but the wording would allow Disney lawyers to argue the exploitation began before the date and so is protected under the provision of "existing derivative work".

Voodoo Magic

Quote from: SiL on Apr 17, 2021, 02:20:05 AM
QuoteThe law they are invoking is The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §203(a), that provides authors with the inalienable right to recapture the copyright to their creative work, after a lengthy waiting period, by statutorily terminating without cause prior transfer(s) of copyright, provided advance notice of termination is given and accepted for recordation by the U.S. Copyright Office.

They're pursuing ownership back. But this only applies to US copyright, not foreign.
The very next paragraph of the claim (Paragraph 6, Page 2, under "Nature of the Complaint") points out that the termination right was specifically enacted to address the unequal bargaining position of the authors. This is why I specifically referred to the nature of the law they were invoking.

Yes, it's basically a history lesson why the US Copyright Law was changed:

"6. The termination right was specifically enacted by Congress in recognition of the unequal bargaining position of authors and to enable them to finally secure the financial benefits of their work, sold inevitably before its value could be fairly tested in the marketplace. See H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 124"

I'm definitely not predicting or pretending to know the Thomas Brothers' motives at all. All I was saying is they can stop all future business with Disney in the US if they win. They can produce a new Predator television show here in the US, or a film here in the US, both with different studios, and then those studio would negotiate a split foreign distribution deal / joint production if they wanted to release it overseas. They might just agree to split the production costs and keep their respective territory based revenue. I think there's already been precedent for that.

We'll see!

SiL

Yeah, split rights like that aren't unprecedented. But the wording of the claim gives me hope that they're just after a better deal, not to go nuclear on the whole thing. It leans heavily on "we just want a deal based on the known value of the property", not "we want to exploit this how we see fit". But that could be legalese.

It's gonna be interesting to watch.

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