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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Contests - Screenwriting and Filmmaking  ›  Script stealing warning!! Moderators: Don
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  Author    Script stealing warning!!  (currently 3238 views)
dogglebe
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 9:41am Report to Moderator
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I received an e-mail this morning:


Quoted Text

Hi Phil,
My name is Greg Allen and I teach a video production class at Logansport High School in Logansport, Indiana.
The final project for my students was to select a script from simplyscripts.com and make a movie.  I always do the projects along with the students and I chose your script "Sixteen Minutes".  I changed some things around in the script for school appropriateness and time limitations but I wanted to thank you for a cool script and let you know I think you would be a great Hollywood writer.
Here's my final product:
http://www.youtube.com/user/djgregallen#p/a/u/0/LpFk40sDIOQ

Thanks again for a great script and good luck to you.


This son of a bitch produced my script without my permission.  Why am I angry? For starters, he produced my script without my permission. I'm in talk with someone in L.A. about producing this script. Being already produced could jeopardize it being produced by the filmmaker I'm working with.

Sound familiar?

I don't know if anyone else has received a similar e-mail but you should be on the look out.


Phil
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 9:48am Report to Moderator
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WTF? A teacher at a high school?

Shocking.

Plus...if he's the teacher, I'd hate to see the state of his pupils films!
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dogglebe
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 9:59am Report to Moderator
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I fired off an e-mail to his, cc'ing the dean of the school.

Why do people like stealing my zombie scripts?


Phil
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Mr.Z
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 9:59am Report to Moderator
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I received a similar e-mail but from another "filmmaker".


Quoted Text
My name is XXXXXXXXXXXX, and I found your script "The Black Rose Garden" on simplyscripts.com a few months ago. I'm an aspiring film maker who has been building her portfolio these past few months to take a film internship at a production company later next year.

While I was recently working with a group of aspiring, trained actors, I used your script to make a short film. It has yet to go into editing production, but will be posted online this summer. No profit will be gained, however, I'd like to use your name in the credits as the writer. Only if you wish will I put your e-mail address for further contact on your part.

Thank you,

XXXX


My reply was something along the lines of:

I sold the rights for this script to a producer in the UK who knows own EXCLUSIVE rights, regardless of the profit the film will make or not.

Don't finish the film. And if you did, don't show it to anyone or you will get in LEGAL trouble.


Unbelievable.


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dogglebe
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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Did he write back, Z?  You should google Black Rose Garden to make sure that it's not up anywhere.


Phil
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:12am Report to Moderator
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To be honest I think there needs to be a sign (or a more prominent one...I've not seen one) saying in no uncertain terms that if people want to use the scripts they have to contact the author.

I think people just have an expectation that is free to use.
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George Willson
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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One would have thought that was a given. Then again, if you make something with no expectation of profit, once upon a time, I wouldn't have thought that was a big deal. Especially if it was done in the course of a class for educational purposes.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with someone making something of mine as long as they plugged me in the credits. If I sold the rights, then that's their problem, not mine. No contract stating that I gave them permission.

But I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how that works.


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sniper
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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From the main site (unproduced scripts section):

"Please Note: All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com domain are copyrighted to their author. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author."


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:22am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from sniper
From the main site (unproduced scripts section):

"Please Note: All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com domain are copyrighted to their author. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author."


Fair enough. Maybe it could be a bit more emphatic in terms of size....but there's no excuse really.

Personally, I found this site through the discussion board and wasn't aware of the Unproduced section from the main page for a long time...I thought it was Unproduced scripts from "famous" writers.
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Mr.Z
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:25am Report to Moderator
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@Phil: Nope, didn't hear back. Not worried though. If he shoots films half as bad as he does business, that short is going nowhere fast.


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dogglebe
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:33am Report to Moderator
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I heard back from the dean of the school.  He seems very cavalier about the matter. I also contacted youtube about pulling the video and the trailer.

George, while the script could be used for educational purposes, posting it on youtube is another matter entirely... unless the lesson is that the film teacher is a terrible filmmaker.


Phil
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JonnyBoy
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:34am Report to Moderator
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God, that sucks. I had a look at his filmed attempt...your script is better than that. The credits were painfully, painfully long.

It is a bit worrying that his students are just told to come along and pick a script. Haven't they heard of intellectual property?! It's stealing! We're not doing this for free, you know.

Well, we are, but not by choice...


Guess who's back? Back again?
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dogglebe
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:36am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JonnyBoy
It is a bit worrying that his students are just told to come along and pick a script. Haven't they heard of intellectual property?!


They're not hearing it in the classroom, that's for sure.


Phil

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George Willson
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:37am Report to Moderator
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Perhaps I'm naive over this, but legal issues aside, where is the harm in this? If I had received the same email Phil did, I would have said "cool, can I see it?" I mean, sometime in the future when his students are out in the word, they might see my name somewhere and say "hey, we made a script of his in high school."

So enlighten me on the big picture here. Sure, we'd want to know. Sure, we'd want to officially give permission. Sure, we'd want to be part of the process. But what's done is done. It's in the past. I'll bet he'll never pick another one of Phil's scripts again.

The only issue I could see is if someone grabs the script for a contest that specifies in the rules "not previously produced." Most of those rules are actually "not previously shown" or something along those lines. I seriously doubt a "real" filmmaker would get bent out of shape over a high school teaching film with changes that was made without permission. If that filmmaker gets weird about it, then you probably didn't want to work with him to begin with.

EDIT: Did he at least credit you?


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JonnyBoy
Posted: May 20th, 2010, 10:55am Report to Moderator
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All this kind of regrettable incident does is make me wonder the question that somebody raised on another thread a few months ago: ultimately, is posting your scripts on a forum such as this a good idea?

I love this website, and I really respect some members of the community (some of you I plain hate... ). I know people can get exposure from posting work here, but there are inherent dangers, too.

As this shows, people can end up hurting your career prospects without even meaning to. Intellectual property theft IS a big deal. Stealing someone's script is simply that - stealing, even if you do let the writer know after the fact.


Guess who's back? Back again?
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