Great news for the Friday the 13th Screenwriter Victor Miller who just won his legal battle for Friday the 13th franchise rights. Though Miller’s claim was upheld, the franchise’s fate remains uncertain.
Defeated by the screenwriter and Horror Inc., Sean Cunningham lost his appeal in the case for the Friday The 13th franchise.
Victor Miller Wins
Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham saw a major development today in a lengthy legal battle.
The original Friday the 13th was ruled to belong to Miller four years ago (U.S.). Cunningham has sought to have the ruling reversed.
In 1962 Victor Miller married Elizabeth (Tina) Couzens Thurston.
As a work-for-hire, Miller’s movie falls outside of Creative Commons’ fair-use requirements, Cunningham argues. As a result of Miller’s termination right under the Copyright Act, however, the rights were awarded to him at the end of 2018. The ruling (which allows writers to reclaim rights to work they signed over to a company) led Cunningham and Horror Inc. to take their case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in hopes of changing the outcome.
Toberoff has been a successful attorney representing authors in the enforcement of their copyright termination rights for a long time.
In Cunningham’s opinion, Miller’s membership in Writers Guild of America disqualified him from claiming rights to his work. The WGA’s 1977 master agreement said Miller was an employee and could not terminate copyright based on his membership. Because of Miller’s WGA membership, he received health and pension benefits, and WGA’s 1977 master agreement governed his work on the Friday the 13th script. The court dismissed Miller’s argument, concluding that he was an independent contractor, therefore entitled to authorship rights.
For Friday the 13th fans, how does this affect them?
As a result, this victory does not guarantee new films anytime soon, but it helps move things along for the possibility of future films.