If there’s one thing more terrifying than a machete-wielding supernatural killer, its the prospect of a tedious and protracted copyright lawsuit. Unfortunately, it looks like the “Friday the 13th” franchise may be heading in the latter direction, according to a recent report by THR.
Horror, Inc. and Manny Company, the current owners of the lucrative slasher series, recently filed a lawsuit in Connecticut against the original 1980 film’s screenwriter, Victor Miller, hoping to halt the claiming of a copyright provision allowing authors to cancel grants of rights in order to retake ownership. Notices for copyright termination were sent this past June, aiming to return the rights to Miller in July 2018. Mr. Miller, the plaintiffs argue, was simply brought on as a writer-for-hire for the company producing the film at the time, and therefore has no legal claim to the source material.
The complaint argues that, “Miller had never written a horror screenplay prior to his being hired by [director Sean] Cunningham and was guided in the process, and directly supervised, by Cunningham. Accordingly, Miller entered into an employment agreement with the Manny Company pursuant to which Miller wrote a screenplay for the Film as a work for hire (the ‘Screenplay’).”
The last we saw of Jason Voorhees was 2009’s reboot which, despite becoming the highest grossing film in the history of the “Friday the 13th” series, failed to gain enough momentum to warrant an immediate sequel. Rumors of a CW show, as well as a new film reimagining floated across the Internet in subsequent years. With this latest legal barrier, it might be a while before Jason returns from the grave.
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