The lawsuit on Predator is over: the copyright belongs to Disney!

The lawsuit on Predator is over: the copyright belongs to Disney!

The lawsuit on Predator is over

The recent lawsuit regarding the rights to the Predator franchise between Disney and original film writers Jim and John Thomas was settled in December when a settlement was filed in the Los Angeles courthouse. According to a report released by Reuters:

“The dismissal of the legal practice follows a December notice that the parties had resolved their claims over James and John Thomas' attempt to reclaim their share of Disney rights in the their script ".

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The new projects related to Hulu

This does not only mean that the new film in the franchise, Prey , directed by Dan Trachtenberg, may arrive on Hulu (in Italy on Disney +) as planned this year, but even Marvel's Predator comics that have undergone huge delays can finally see an actual publication. Prey, initially known by the working title of Skulls, will also be the first film in the Predator franchise not to be released in theaters, but only in streaming.

The film will be set “in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years before the events of Predator. The story will follow Naru, a skilled warrior who fiercely protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator. " Patrick Aison (Kingdom, Jack Ryan and Treadstone) wrote the script. Official details of the new film were announced as part of Disney + Day Disney + Day last November.

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Disney, ‘Predator’ Screenwriters Settle Copyright Dispute

The screenwriters behind the original 1987 movie and Disney's 20th Century Studios have agreed to drop dueling copyright lawsuits over the rights to the script in a confidential settlement.

The screenwriters behind the original Predator movie and Disney’s 20th Century Studios have agreed to a confidential settlement to drop dueling copyright lawsuits over the rights to the script.

The motion seeking dismissal of the litigation filed in California federal court Wednesday follows a notice filed Dec. 16 that the parties resolved claims regarding an attempt by brothers John and James Thomas to recapture their rights to the screenplay.

Marc Toberoff, of Toberoff & Associates, who represents the brothers, said: “All of the parties voluntarily dismissed their claims following an amicable resolution of the matters in dispute.” He declined to comment on details of the deal.

The brothers wrote the screenplay in 1984 and sold it two years later to 20th Century Fox, which released Predator in 1987. They sued the studio last year, alleging it wrongly denied their bid to terminate its rights to the script.

The U.S. Copyright Act allows authors to recapture their ownership rights after waiting a period of time, typically 35 years for newer works, by terminating prior transfers.

The brothers claimed that new Predator works would simply require a license from them, allowing them to “at long last, participate in the financial rewards of their creation.” They emphasized that they wrote the screenplay “on spec,” with no guarantee of compensation or input from the studio.

If a work is “made for hire,” the employer, in this case 20th Century, is considered the legal author, according to copyright law.

Disney’s 20th Century filed its own lawsuit within hours of the brothers filing their complaint. The studio alleged that the copyright termination notice sought to prematurely cut off its rights.

“This action is necessary because defendants are improperly attempting to prematurely terminate 20th Century’s rights to the Hunters Screenplay, at the very time that 20th Century is investing substantial time, money, and effort in developing another installment in its successful Predator franchise,” reads the lawsuit.

The litigation was fought as Disney forged ahead with plans for a reboot of Predator, which has spawned three sequels and the spinoff movie series Alien vs. Predator.

Studios have increasingly been turning to court as the Copyright Act’s termination rule threatens to transfer ownership of iconic movies, including The Terminator, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Die Hard, back to their original owners.

Victor Miller, who wrote the screenplay of the original Friday the 13th, is set to reclaim his rights to the franchise after a federal appeals court affirmed a win for him in a copyright dispute.

Disney and its attorney Daniel Petrocelli, a partner at O’Melveny and Myers LLP, declined to comment.

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