Copyright Infringement Claimed on Script Summaries

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Copyright Infringement Claimed on Script Summaries

Thu Jan 31, 2008 @ 09:59AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Screenplay Are digest summaries of original scripts copyrightable? Yes, according to California-based Breakdown Services, which is suing a Nevada-based company for allegedly infringing its "breakdowns."

Breakdown Services has been delivering original script analyses and summaries to the entertainment community for more than 35 years. According to this complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, defendant Internet Solutions Corporation (also known as "Too Spoiled") "copied the breakdowns for the specific purposes of infringing Breakdown Services' copyrights and selling illegal and unauthorized copies of the breakdowns."

Too Spoiled appears to be a Nevada-based company that specializes in talent scouting and other services.

Assuming the defendant actually copied the work, the question for the court may be whether the work was copyrightable in the first place. Only original material is eligible to be copyrighted, so will a court see these summaries as new, original work or derivatives of the original scripts? Perhaps the amount of script "analysis" that Breakdown purports to have included will be weighed.

Sole practitioner Steven Krakowsky is the lawyer for Breakdown Services.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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