Negotiations Squashed. Full Appeal Reinstated As Friday The 13th Rights Battle Goes Back To Court


The rights battle continues on and now the courts will hopefully settle this longstanding and painful issue for one final time.

Original Friday The 13th film writer Victor Miller filed a notice of termination of copyright on January 26, 2016 for the script he wrote for Friday The 13th 1980. This is made possible due to a provision in copyright law that allows the termination of copyright 35 years after the work is completed. Furthermore, the termination must be filed two years prior to reclaiming the copyright. Since Miller filed for termination in January 2016 (and later updated the filing in July 2016), he was in line to reclaim the copyright for his work in July 2018.

Horror Inc. (the Friday The 13th rights holder) filed a lawsuit against Victor Miller in 2016 to have his copyright termination claim thrown out. The lawsuit against Victor was dismissed in 2018, giving him sole rights to characters and other elements in the original film. Horror Inc. and Sean Cunningham then filed an appeal in October 2018 to reverse the courts decision to throw out their appeal. Since that time, the rights battle has taken place in the courts with mediation attempts made to resolve the issue and possibly come to a settlement. That mediation unfortunately went no where and now it is all going back to court!

Yesterday, Horror Inc vowed to the Second Circuit Court that this ruling could potentially upend how movies are made and set a bad precedent for the film industry going forward. The appeal leans heavily on the mention, once again, that Victor Miller was a work for hire employee and that the trial judge that dismissed the the lawsuit last year conveniently ignored the fact that Victor was a member of the WGA (Writers Guild Association) and that as a member he has protective employee rights against the studios. Horror Inc emphasized "employee" many times in the briefs brought forth yesterday in court.

Check out www.law360.com for more information on the case that was reported today. With a lot of eyes on this court battle, this may be drawn out for a long time to come.