Did you watch your favorite horror movie this Halloween? “It: Chapter One” is the most recently released horror film. Based on a Stephen King novel, It (as it is commonly known) hit the big screens last month to wide success. Some claim it is one of the scariest movies in recent history. Before It came along, another nightmare began brewing.
Conjuring up a serious lawsuit
A little background: Gerald Brittle is the author of The Demonologist, a book he wrote in the 1980s about real life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Brittle claims that at the time the book was written, the Warrens signed an agreement granting Brittle the exclusive rights to their paranormal case files. This means that his permission would be needed in order to produce films based on those files and on his book.
Starting in 2013, film studio Warner Bros. has produced widely-successful horror films based on the Warrens’ lives and Brittle’s book: The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle, which are collectively referred to as the Conjuring franchise.
If the movies are not scary enough, the $900 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. surely is. Brittle filed a lawsuit early this year claiming that Warner Bros. — among others — did not obtain his permission to make the movies.
Nothing is ever as easy as it seems
A quick Google search makes copyright law look easy. Write a book or make a film, fill out some paperwork online, pay a fee and your copyright is registered. However, like paranormal activity, there is a lot you don’t see. For example, The Conjuring movie involves a lot of parties who have various rights, including:
- The Demonologist author Gerald Brittle
- The Warrens on whose lives the book was based
- The various film studios and producers involved in the projects
- The screenplay writers
Additionally, a copyright doesn’t need to be registered in order to be legally binding on others. If laws and legal processes have you quaking in your shoes, don’t venture out alone. Hire a professional to protect you and your creations.