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MILLER OWNS JASON
Posted: 020919

Judge Rules Miller Owns a Huge Part of the Character

Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller now owns the franchise. He sued under a provision of copyright law that allows authors to terminate a grant of rights and reclaim ownership 35 years after publishing. The film’s producers alleged that Miller wrote the first film as a work-made-for-hire after film series producer Sean Cunningham came up with an idea to tie-in with the success of the first Halloween. They claimed that Miller’s termination notice was unlawful. But Miller’s attorney Marc Toberoff argued that while the screenplay was clearly commissioned as part of a motion picture but it was never made clear that Miller was doing work-made-for-hire. U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that the screenplay wasn’t a work for hire, the terms were wrong and that labor law doesn’t consider Miller as an employee but an independent contractor. Because ownership was in question no new films could be made or anything else using Jason. So Miller owns the rights to the character in the US but not overseas. The judge did leave the producers the out of trying to copyright the adult Jason character and never referring to his past.

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