20th Century Fox is suing a struggling screenwriter Patricia McIlvaine for $15 million dollars after she created a free online library of movie scripts as a tool and reference for other screenwriters.
Without any previous contact Fox sent their private investigators to McIlvaine's actual home to interview her and gather information and now is suing her for $12 million. On reviewing papers just filed in the New York Eastern District Court, it’s clear that Twentieth Century Fox is out to make an example of anyone who makes available any of their copyright material on the Internet.
In their complaint against McIlvaine and Does 1-10, the Hollywood giant says it is seeking damages and injunctive relief for copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement. The studio claims that McIlvaine:
“uploaded and made available to others via the Internet a script of Deadpool, the copyright to which is owned by Fox, and which is a script for a project still in development.”
McIlvaine is further accused of uploading and making available
“roughly 100 movie and television scripts” during 2009 and 2010, some of them relating to relatively old films such as Aliens, Edward Scissorhands and Wall Street. The actual court papers go on to list 79 movie scripts, only one of which is unreleased i.e Deadpool. Fox want $150,000 in statutory damages for each and every one. Does 1-10 refers to the individuals who allegedly supplied McIlvaine with the scripts.
Fox states that McIlvaine's actions “harm the fans who do not want their enjoyment of a movie or television show to be spoiled by knowing the story ahead of actually being able to watch it.”
Many sites including ours recieved a letter from Fox asking us to remove reviews and links to the Deadpool script which we complied under copyright protocols, mypdfscripts says that Fox got in touch with his site recently after they published a review of the Deadpool script, a script which Fox described as “stolen property.”
While we appreciate your interest in the Film and your enjoyment of the script, the Film is a confidential project in development. Your purported review provides important qualitative details about character, plot, setting and mood, thereby violating Fox’s rights in and to the copyrights to the screenplay.As you are likely aware, copyright law protects an author’s right of first publication. Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 554-55 (1985). Fox therefore demands that you immediately remove and not re-publish your “review,” in whole or part.
In its case against McIlvaine, Fox says that the company took action to have the Deadpool script removed from various websites including the Mediafire file-hosting service last month, but complains that McIlvaine uploaded it again. However, there is no mention in the lawsuit that Fox issued McIlvaine with a DMCA takedown request or contacted her in any way. People who can afford it are being asked to make donations via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org, so that P.J can at least fight her corner with the help of representation.
We contacted McIlvaine regarding the matter and obviously found her distraught not only over Fox's actions but also that the case had gone public. The main problem seems to be that McIlvaine uploaded the Deadpool script [i.e copyrighted material] under her online library. So she was providing the pdf as many hundreds linked in to her particular library. This is the first case of its kind and one can't help to ask isn't the problem really with those who leaked the actual script in the first place. i.e the Studios.