Movie Remakes and Adaptations Can Land Movies in Copyright Lawsuits




Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 28, 2011 – Movie remakes and new interpretations happen all the time. But such popular topics should not detract from thoroughly researching copyrights, examining how a new work meets fair use laws, and seeking to enter into any appropriate licenses and/or contracts that are needed to ensure the production can continue on. Otherwise, a movie studio, director, and other relevant parties can be subject to litigation during filming, or even worse, after profits have started to come in.

In the current case of Effie Film LLC v Gregory Murphy, Effie Film wanted to ensure that Emma Thompson’s script did not infringe on Murphy’s play, “The Countess,” about the love scandal between art critic John Ruskin, his wife Effie Gray, and the painter John Everett Millais in 19th century England. Effie Film sued Murphy to obtain a declaration that the script had no copyright issues. Then, Effie Film also sued Eve Pomerance, who has a screenplay, “The Secret Trials of Effie Gray.”

Anthony Spotora

Anthony Spotora

“It is smart to be proactive before a film gets completed and preemptively seek a resolution,” said Los Angeles copyright attorney Anthony Spotora, who is also a Los Angeles entertainment attorney. “A film’s financing, distribution, and other key business transactions can rest on the validity of the film’s originality, which obviously includes its copyright and intellectual property assets.”

Acquiring and clearing copyrights is a pivotal, initial step in the movie-making process. Whether you are an independent filmmaker or a big studio, getting qualified legal counsel is critical to the financial and broader success of the movie. Every filmmaker and studio must be aware of the fair use doctrine that essentially states that another person’s work can be used in a film if it is transformed into something new and shows a different purpose. Otherwise, a person or studio is liable to receive cease-and-desist letters, lawsuits, or other claims to seek a remedy to the situation.

“You do not want all of your hard work to go for nothing or to cost you dearly because you failed to perform the necessary research and/or secure adequate protection up front,” said Spotora. To learn more about the Los Angeles copyright lawyer or Los Angeles entertainment lawyer Anthony Spotora, visit

Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C.
1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067-2302
Call: (310) 556.9641

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