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Topic: Movie made is close to my screenplay. Any rights?

Author: Matt Tolbert Posted: 12/28/10 09:55 PM

The movie: "Real Steel" is a new Hugh Jackman movie about the near-future where man-sized robots meet in an arena and combat one-on-one.

My screenplay: In the near-future, two man-sized robots meet in an arena battle to decide the fate of America's second civil war.

Close enough to do anything? Do I have any rights? My script is registered with WGA and I have a copyright.

I'm a newby so not sure if I can do anything or just let it go.

Thanks all.

Author: Patrick Daly Posted: 12/29/10 06:56 AM

Matt,

You would have to show that someone involved in the making of "Real Steel" had access to your screenplay. Is that the case in your situation? Take a look at the following article on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantial_similarity

Author: Patricia Fox Posted: 12/29/10 10:00 AM

Patrick has given you great advice. The key would be whether or not the filmmakers had access to your script but even then it can be hard to prove. Carl Jung wrote about the Collective Unconscious and a lot of our ideas are similar because we live in the same culture/society and have access to the same news/books/music etc. Best of luck to you!

Author: Matt Tolbert Posted: 12/29/10 01:46 PM

Thanks all.

I don't know why I worry about this (maybe it's beginners' anxiety). There's probably nothing I could do anyway being a writer with a slingshot versus movie companies with bazookas.

Less coffee, more writing. Happy New Year all!

Author: James Pickering Posted: 12/29/10 01:48 PM

Matt I'd try and take the positives from it and use it as a way to help get you reads. If this film is a success it could result in your script gathering some positive attention. Good luck.

Author: Mike McGeever Posted: 12/29/10 05:15 PM

I get that sensation a lot when I'm watching trailers and I see an idea or scene similar to something I wrote. Usually the finished film is very, very different, if that's any comfort.

Another comforting thought is that assuming they didn't just film your script that means you're generating ideas that are clearly good enough to make it to the majors. So look at it as a sign that you're on the right track!!

GOOD LUCK & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Author: Brent Hartinger Posted: 12/30/10 02:27 PM

At least three of "my" screenplays -- Antz, The Sixth Sense, and My Best Friends' Wedding -- were subsequently produced. It happens -- there are only so many ideas in the world, and coincidences abound.

Author: Poetist Soul Posted: 12/31/10 06:04 AM

There are ideas, and then there is a flesh and bone story.

Matt, the idea you mentioned robots duking it out is quite like a gladiator theme, so there will be similar ideas to that.

However, we all have our secret recipe to making our special sauces.

Now, if you see 1/3 of your dialogue up on the big screen. . . it would be enough by WGA guidelines to consider a copyright infringement.

With that said, as a once newbie myself, I often would see something and think the very same thing. That was until I saw how crappy and not as great as mine. : )

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 12/31/10 09:51 AM

Actually, there are several ideas that haven't been done "that often" because they are generally considered "bad box office". I personally would take one of THOSE ideas and find a way to make it "good box office".

Robots combating in the future for mankind has kind of already been done quite a bit. How about singing and dancing robots in the future?

Author: MIKE DONALD Posted: 12/31/10 03:00 PM

That's bloody funny if it's ironic Brent, but bloody sad if it's true!

I wrote a screenplay about a ship that sank, but I was told that my plot didn't hold water :)

Mike