What makes a story? You have characters, a narrative, maybe a climax and a denouement. But behind the craft you have a creator, the writer, and maybe you even have a real-life story on which the fictional one is based. In the entertainment business, all of these factors can be linked specifically to a contract, and that means there is the potential for dispute.
For example, consider a recent lawsuit filed by a producer who says the idea for "Trouble with the Curve," the 2012 movie starring Clint Eastwood, was ripped off from material that was already copyrighted by the producer's company. The plaintiff is seeking "tens of millions of dollars" from Warner Bros., Clint Eastwood's production company, two writers and a number of other parties.
According to the lawsuit, a writer was hired by Gold Glove Productions to write a script for a movie to be called "Omaha," and the story closely resembles the story of "Trouble with the Curve." Both stories deal with baseball and the relationship between a father and daughter.
One of the plaintiffs was a college baseball player, and the lawsuit says that he and the writer worked together to create the story. The two had a falling-out, however.
After that, according to the lawsuit, the writer took the story, made adjustments and created a counterfeit version that later became "Trouble with the Curve." The lawsuit alleges that a second writer's name was placed on the script to camouflage it.
A representative for the plaintiff production company said that specialists in writing analysis and other investigators have revealed evidence to show that contract infringement and breach of contract have occurred.
Entertainment professionals in Los Angeles may want to keep an eye on this case as it moves forward.
Source: Entertainment Weekly, "Producer says 'Trouble With the Curve' was his idea, lawsuit against Warner Bros.," Samantha Highfill, Oct. 1, 2013