Larry Zerner the man who we know in the Friday the 13th Community calls Shelly from Friday the 13th Part III is now a creditable and successful Copyright, Trademark & Entertainment Attorney who has given us his knowledge and advice over the years especially about the Victor V. Sean Cunningham and Horror Inc. Lawsuit.
With Victor Miller winning the termination copyright appeal. (CLICK HERE!)
This is Larry Zerners own words from his Official Twitter:
First, no real surprise here. The 2nd Cir. upheld the decision of the trial court that when Victor Miller wrote the F13 screenplay.
He was acting as an independent contractor and not as an employee. Therefore, the termination of copyright transfer that he filed is effective and he has successfully reclaimed his rights in the first F13 screenplay.
On appeal, Horror, Inc. (the company that controls the F13 rights) made a number of arguments that Miller's WGA membership should have been considered as a factor in determining Miller's employment status. But the Court shut all of those arguments down.
The Court (correctly, IMHO) held that while union membership has bearing for employment in labor law, it really has no bearing in connection with Copyright Law. Once the Court rejected the arguments based on the WGA membership, it analyzed the CCNV v. Reid factors
which are used in copyright cases to determine if the author is an independent contractor or employee and held that Miller was not an employee. So, what happens next? Horror, Inc. can appeal to the Supreme Court but there is almost no chance the S.Ct accepts cert.
This should push the parties to make a deal. However, the same issues exist that have existed from the outset. Miller only owns the rights to the first F13 screenplay and only in the U.S., He does not own the rights to adult, hockey-mask wearing Jason.
So no new F13 movie can be made until the parties can reach a deal over how to split the money from any new movie. Hopefully, after 5 years, someone will lock Cunningham, Miller, and their lawyers into a room (Saw style) and tell them they can't come out without a deal.
We can only cross our fingers and hope.
Credit/Source: @ZernerLaw Twitter Post