Friday The 13th Rights Arguments To Bring Early Summer Decision

Today the 2nd Circuit Court heard oral arguments in the Friday The 13th franchise rights battle between Victor Miller and Horror Inc. Entertainment lawyer and franchise alumni Larry Zerner helped break down the proceedings and provided a large amount of analysis on his Twitter account.

The arguments provided by both sides have been covered numerous times the past few years. Horror Inc. is arguing that Victor was work for hire and that the lower court that ruled in Victor’s favor in 2018 did not factor in that the WGA (writer’s guild) agreement makes Victor a work for hire. Larry has stated in the past, and I have read on other legal sites, that this argument is very weak.

Victor’s lawyer argued that the lower court did take the WGA argument into account, but felt it had no weight. Finally, the lawyer for Horror Inc. pleaded to the Appellate 2nd Circuit court that if they were not going to rule in favor of Sean Cunningham, they should send it to district court for trial.

On Larry’s Twitter account, he offered up the three scenarios for what’s next:

1. The 2nd Circuit court rules that Victor owns the rights to the original Friday The 13th
2. The 2nd Circuit rules that Sean owns the rights.
3. The 2nd Circuit sends the case to District Court for trial.

The decision will be announced between May and June. I strongly suggest to check out Larry’s analysis on his Twitter account and meanwhile we all wait to find out the fate of the franchise in the next few months!

About the Rights Battle
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 the film. The termination of copyright allows Victor monetary compensation for any future Friday The 13th films that are made using aspects of the script he wrote in 1979. This is made possible due to a provision in copyright law that allows the termination of copyright 35 years after the work is completed.

Horror Inc. (the Friday The 13th rights holder) filed a lawsuit against Victor Miller in 2016 to have his copyright termination claim thrown out. Since that time, the rights battle has taken place in the courts.

Read more about the Rights Battle.

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