Jim and John Thomas suing Disney to reclaim Predator rights

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

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

SM

Oh well, fair enough.


Local Trouble

Has anyone considered the possibility that the Thomas brothers aren't interested in the money?  Maybe they're just using this as leverage to wrest a settlement from Disney that includes a legally binding pledge to never use ADI's crabator designs ever again.

I suspect VM is their silent partner in this whole affair.

Corporal Hicks

Well isn't this another ball game entirely. They wouldn't own the actual Stan design? That was work-for-hire from Fox.

Samhain13

Quote from: Local Trouble on Apr 20, 2021, 10:45:01 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the Thomas brothers aren't interested in the money?  Maybe they're just using this as leverage to wrest a settlement from Disney that includes a legally binding pledge to never use ADI's crabator designs ever again.

I suspect VM is their silent partner in this whole affair.

They are doing it cus they hated Skulls premise. Stop before it kills whatever The Predator didn't kill yet in the series.

Voodoo Magic

Quote from: SiL on Apr 20, 2021, 05:12:56 AM
How can they recognise them as the new copyright holders before they're the new copyright holders?

As in conceding the copyright will revert back to the Thomas Brothers per US Copyright Law, like David Ellison did for Cameron.

Quote
QuoteWho says it will be for sale?
Who says it won't be?

Neither by me, without a "perhaps" caveat. It's all speculation. All we know is they are claiming the copyright back. That is the one definitive we have.

QuoteHonestly, where is the notion that they want to sit on it even coming from?

More speculation.

QuoteThe wording of the complaint is about all we've got, and that talks heavily of negotiating a new license agreement.

You're taking a small portion out of context and using it to support your speculation. It's a small portion explaining why this protection is in place for original copyright holders. It's just explaining why it was enacted by Congress.

"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."

QuoteDoes anyone think Fox or Disney would renegotiate if they didn't have to? This is the legal recourse to get a renegotiation that levels the playing field. There's really not much other benefit to it.

But does the Thomas Brothers want to negotiate with Disney, versus form their own license company now, let someone in the family run it, and license it to Blumhouse or somewhere else, or just sell it somewhere else. I don't know. All speculation.

Cameron wanted the copyright back. Miller wanted the copyright back. I'm not saying the Thomas Brothers does want the copyright back. But I am also not saying the Thomas Brothers doesn't. That would be speculating.




Quote from: Local Trouble on Apr 20, 2021, 10:45:01 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the Thomas brothers aren't interested in the money?  Maybe they're just using this as leverage to wrest a settlement from Disney that includes a legally binding pledge to never use ADI's crabator designs ever again.

I suspect VM is their silent partner in this whole affair.



SiL

SiL

#215
QuoteYou're taking a small portion out of context and using it to support your speculation. It's a small portion explaining why this protection is in place for original copyright holders. It's just explaining why it was enacted by Congress.
There are actually several paragraphs throughout the complaint explaining that this law, and this action, is about equitable negotiation for renewing the license. It specifically points out it doesn't prevent Fox from using existing derivative material and makes no mention of seeking actions that would give them control over everything

Quote
But does the Thomas Brothers want to negotiate with Disney, versus form their own license company now, let someone in the family run it, and license it to Blumhouse or somewhere else, or just sell it somewhere else. I don't know. All speculation.
Sell a script that's already made so a new house can make a movie that everyone's going to think is a ripoff of Predator since they couldn't use any of the existing trademarks?

They could, but that doesn't seem realistic.

Never Say Never Again is the closest I can think to that.

QuoteCameron wanted the copyright back. Miller wanted the copyright back. I'm not saying the Thomas Brothers does want the copyright back. But I am also not saying the Thomas Brothers doesn't. That would be speculating.
Cameron openly regretted selling the rights for $1 in 1984 - but he's not the one who filed the retraction intent, Gale Ann Hurd did. By all accounts Cameron is happy for the rights to be where they are now.

Bug hunt wilson

Bug hunt wilson

#216
To tell you the truth with all this legal stuff.The only reason I think they were moving so fast with skulls is that they knew they were about to get sue and wanted to use a loophole so they can still hold on to the ip.Similar to what universal did with doom anhalition and those straight to dvd hellrasier moives.I am not no copyright lawyer so let's say if skulls was very far enough in development will the brothers be able to cancel it and will Disney be able to hold the ip for a couple of years if they failed to cancelled the film?Cause I rember something similar is what kept Clive baker sueing back for the rights  for a while

Voodoo Magic

Quote from: SiL on Apr 20, 2021, 12:21:11 PM
QuoteYou're taking a small portion out of context and using it to support your speculation. It's a small portion explaining why this protection is in place for original copyright holders. It's just explaining why it was enacted by Congress.
There are actually several paragraphs throughout the complaint explaining that this law, and this action, is about equitable negotiation for renewing the license.

Show me these other paragraphs.

Have you even read the complaint Nature of the Action? This is what they are seeking:

NATURE OF THE ACTION

5. The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §203(a), 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.

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 is about equitable negotiation for renewing the license.1976) (emphasizing that the termination right was enacted to give authors a chance to obtain a more equitable portion of their creation's value when it is no longer conjectural.)

7. In or about 1984, brothers James E. Thomas and John C. Thomas conceived and authored the original "spec" screenplay "Hunters" (hereinafter, the "Screenplay"). Their Screenplay was acquired in 1986 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and was the basis for the iconic hit film Predator (1987), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, launching the Predator film franchise.

8. In 2016, the Thomas brothers properly availed themselves of their right under Section 203(a) of the Copyright Act to recover the copyright to their literary material by serving and recording with the U.S. Copyright Office within the prescribed statutory window, a notice of termination with an effective termination date of April 17, 2021. This is a civil action seeking declaratory relief that the Thomases' termination is valid and effective under the Copyright Act
.

Doc is here. Only 12 pages: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20616541-predator

You don't put your plan, your ideas on what you want to do after you reclaim the US copyright of Predator, into your legal complaint. That would not be germane to the complaint, nor any of the court's business!

No, you're speculating SiL. It may be a very good speculation, but admit it's honest speculation as well. :)

QuoteIt specifically points out it doesn't prevent Fox from using existing derivative material and makes no mention of seeking actions that would give them control over everything

Who said control of everything? Who said it prevents Fox from using existing derivative material? Ho boy! You need to read the legal complaint again, and our articles brother.  :)

Quote
Quote
But does the Thomas Brothers want to negotiate with Disney, versus form their own license company now, let someone in the family run it, and license it to Blumhouse or somewhere else, or just sell it somewhere else. I don't know. All speculation.
Sell a script that's already made so a new house can make a movie that everyone's going to think is a ripoff of Predator since they couldn't use any of the existing trademarks?

They could, but that doesn't seem realistic.

Never Say Never Again is the closest I can think to that.

I always personally wanted a Predator movie to be not called Predator, i.e. "Skulls" or a personal wish of mine... "The Hunter". Who knows. :)

Quote
QuoteCameron wanted the copyright back. Miller wanted the copyright back. I'm not saying the Thomas Brothers does want the copyright back. But I am also not saying the Thomas Brothers doesn't. That would be speculating.
Cameron openly regretted selling the rights for $1 in 1984 - but he's not the one who filed the retraction intent, Gale Ann Hurd did. By all accounts Cameron is happy for the rights to be where they are now.

I don't even know what this response means to be honest in the context of our conversation, in regards to an suggestions what the Thomas Brothers is going to do or not going to do by us is just pure speculation.

Engineer

Engineer

#218
Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 20, 2021, 11:19:51 AM
Well isn't this another ball game entirely. They wouldn't own the actual Stan design? That was work-for-hire from Fox.

The complaint calls out "derivative" works. I usually see that as other movies, books, comics, games, etc. but the creature design could be considered "derivative" too, I think...


Quote from: Samhain13 on Apr 20, 2021, 11:33:26 AM
Quote from: Local Trouble on Apr 20, 2021, 10:45:01 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the Thomas brothers aren't interested in the money?  Maybe they're just using this as leverage to wrest a settlement from Disney that includes a legally binding pledge to never use ADI's crabator designs ever again.

I suspect VM is their silent partner in this whole affair.

They are doing it cus they hated Skulls premise. Stop before it kills whatever The Predator didn't kill yet in the series.

I doubt that since they issued their notice of intent 4.5 years ago (in 2016). That was before Disney was in the picture and before Shane black's movie came out. This new movie couldn't have been on the Thomas brothers radar since they hadn't started work on it yet (director says he's been working on the script for 4 years so that's 6 months after the Thomas brothers started the process).

Immortan Jonesy

Quote from: SM on Apr 20, 2021, 06:56:15 AM(Unless they're suing FOX Disney for crabators damages?)

Since it predates the acquisition of FOX by Disney.  :laugh:

Voodoo Magic

Voodoo Magic

#220
Quote from: Engineer on Apr 20, 2021, 01:13:17 PM
Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 20, 2021, 11:19:51 AM
Well isn't this another ball game entirely. They wouldn't own the actual Stan design? That was work-for-hire from Fox.

The complaint calls out "derivative" works. I usually see that as other movies, books, comics, games, etc. but the creature design could be considered "derivative" too, I think...

The sequels, even the original, are seemingly  grouped in with derivative works:

"Under the termination provisions, prior "derivative works" "can continue to be" distributed as before.  17 U.S.C. § 203(b)(1).  Plaintiffs' recovery of the U.S. copyright to their Screenplay therefore does not prevent Defendants or their licensees from continuing to exploit prior derivative works, including the original Predator film and TCFFC's five sequel films. "

It will be interesting though with that Predator creature design.

With Friday the 13th, the Jason character didn't appear in that famous villian form with that trademark hockey mask etc. until later movies, so there was a sufficient argument to be made that the adult Jason character could be independent of that first script. That seemed to matter.

With Predator, I don't think such an argument could be as clearly made. So my limited understanding assumption believes the Thomas Brothers will get the Stan Winston design as well.


Engineer

Quote from: Voodoo Magic on Apr 20, 2021, 01:34:41 PM
Quote from: Engineer on Apr 20, 2021, 01:13:17 PM
Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 20, 2021, 11:19:51 AM
Well isn't this another ball game entirely. They wouldn't own the actual Stan design? That was work-for-hire from Fox.

The complaint calls out "derivative" works. I usually see that as other movies, books, comics, games, etc. but the creature design could be considered "derivative" too, I think...

The sequels, even the original, are seemingly  grouped in with derivative works:

"Under the termination provisions, prior "derivative works" "can continue to be" distributed as before.  17 U.S.C. § 203(b)(1).  Plaintiffs' recovery of the U.S. copyright to their Screenplay therefore does not prevent Defendants or their licensees from continuing to exploit prior derivative works, including the original Predator film and TCFFC's five sequel films. "

It will be interesting though with that Predator creature design.

With Friday the 13th, the Jason character didn't appear in that famous villian form with that trademark hockey mask etc. until later movies, so there was a sufficient argument to be made that the adult Jason character could be independent of that first script. That seemed to matter.

With Predator, I don't think such an argument could be as clearly made. So my limited understanding assumption believes the Thomas Brothers will get the Stan Winston design as well.

Yea. That's what I was thinking too. I'll be curious to see how all this shakes out in the end; what the law decides, etc. It just sucks for all of us fans in the meantime...

Voodoo Magic

Quote from: Engineer on Apr 20, 2021, 01:38:37 PM
Yea. That's what I was thinking too. I'll be curious to see how all this shakes out in the end; what the law decides, etc. It just sucks for all of us fans in the meantime...

Indeed. But I think we're okay, seemingly as long as the court rules against issuing a preliminary injunction until this case is resolved, allowing Skulls, Predator comics and more to continue. Then, at least I think, fandom, their loyal consumers, will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Then we still get all this great expected content AND watch how it all shakes out.

Proteus

Quote from: Voodoo Magic on Apr 20, 2021, 01:48:31 PM
Quote from: Engineer on Apr 20, 2021, 01:38:37 PM
Yea. That's what I was thinking too. I'll be curious to see how all this shakes out in the end; what the law decides, etc. It just sucks for all of us fans in the meantime...

Indeed. But I think we're okay, seemingly as long as the court rules against issuing a preliminary injunction until this case is resolved, allowing Skulls, Predator comics and more to continue. Then, at least I think, fandom, their loyal consumers, will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Then we still get all this great expected content AND watch how it all shakes out.

This is my hope and the best possible outcome for the time being. Yes, we want the best for this franchise, but knowing we have content expected this year and the next, why wouldn't we want that instead of waiting YEARS for a maybe.

The Necronoir

Just finished watching the video, after reading the articles previously, and a new angle occurred to me. There was a lot of talk about all parties losing out if the ruling and/or arbitration end up being drawn out, as in the Friday the 13th case. I think it's worth pointing out that there is one party that benefits in that scenario, regardless of the outcome, and that's the lawyer representing the Thomas Brothers.

A few points to consider:

  • Disney hasn't given any indication (so far) that they intend(ed) to deny the legal reversion of copyright to the brothers after the stipulated period has elapsed, which suggests that they have (or had) every intention of simply negotiating a new deal.
  • Disney already has three (known) projects in varying degrees of development whose profitability is now jeopardised, making a settlement a driving priority.
  • On the other side, any material benefit to the brothers depends on the copyright matter being settled in their favour, because only after this can they shop the franchise out to a new licensee. They get no stake of revenue for the existing movies etc., so reaching a point where new material can be produced is paramount.
  • Despite this, legal representation for the brothers filed the suit with almost no time before the reversion date that would allow for negotiations (the quickest path to profit) to take place, effectively closing the door on that.
  • As such, having the franchise locked in a prolonged legal stoush is not in their interests either, and with Disney's track record in this kind of dispute it's conceivable they might even lose.
Basically, there's only one party that is absolutely guaranteed to walk out of this with a material benefit they wouldn't otherwise have made, and one that increases in proportion to the duration of the proceedings. Disney's legal department is in-house, so I don't think we should be looking there.

Given the outcome (or lack thereof) for F13th, and the dissatisfaction the plaintiff has expressed in that case, I think we have to wonder who approached whom with the idea of going to war with Disney rather than simply hashing out a deal. There are plenty of lawyers who make a career out of this kind of predator behaviour (if you'll excuse the pun).
______________________________

Btw, there's a goof in your original article, Voodoo:

QuoteAnd within a couple weeks, a large anniversary update is expected for the upcoming Predator: Hunting Grounds video game.

It's the update that is "upcoming", not the videogame.

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube RSS Feed