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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...     General Chat  ›  Say your script WAS stolen... Moderators: bert
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  Author    Say your script WAS stolen...  (currently 2526 views)
Heretic
Posted: December 3rd, 2009, 7:11pm Report to Moderator
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That is to say, a basic concept from a script of yours is rewritten and redesigned to please a major production studio.  It is made into a successful blockbuster, or a failed blockbuster, or a modest indie film.

You are:

A)  Outraged that someone else took ONE OF YOUR IDEAS.  You sue, money wins, you lose.  Heck, you sue, you win, and win lots of money.  

B)  Outraged that someone else took ONE OF YOUR IDEAS.  On the other hand, you have a thousand more, and at now there is a film out there that is saying what you were trying to say with the script.  Life goes on.

C)  Flattered.

D)  Irrevocably scarred and give up on screenwriting forever.

Just curious.  There seems to be a lot of talk about stolen scripts.  It happens.  Who cares?  

I was talking to the guy who started the Infernal Affairs project (and receives no credit).  He didn't seem too bothered.  Heck, what if a good friend of Wes Craven's hadn't casually mentioned to Wes that he was thinking about a horror film with a ghoul who kills teenagers in their dreams?  

Is ownership of -- and credit received for -- art more important than its realization for an audience?


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Takeshi
Posted: December 3rd, 2009, 7:24pm Report to Moderator
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I wouldn't be happy. But surely if someone stole one of your ideas it'd be your own fault for not taking the proper precautions to protect yourself.

Lars Ulrich stole the name Metallica. Way back when, one of his friends wanted to start a metal magazine and he had list of potential names for the magazine which he showed Ulrich to get his feedback. Metallica was on the list. Ulrich spotted it but told his friend to go with one of the other names. Ulrich then called his band Metallica and the rest is history. Which is ironic when you consider that Metallica Inc sued Napster for allowing people to share their music over the net.

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Takeshi  -  December 3rd, 2009, 10:01pm
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JonnyBoy
Posted: December 3rd, 2009, 7:28pm Report to Moderator
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It's an interesting question. The point for me, though, is this: is it your first idea, the one that will potentially launch your career, or are you already an established name who has ideas to spare?

Yes, scripts get stolen. And I understand what you're staying that if you get to see your idea onscreen, then there must be satisfaction in that. But if I had an idea stolen that went on to be a successful movie, and ten years later I was still struggling to break into the industry, I'd be bitter. I couldn't help myself.


Guess who's back? Back again?
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mcornetto
Posted: December 3rd, 2009, 7:32pm Report to Moderator
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B. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And this sort of thing happens all the time, mostly by coincidence. I can't even count how many ideas I have had that I've ended up seeing on television or in the movies.  And it never means you can't still use the idea...you just have to put a different spin on it.  
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George Willson
Posted: December 3rd, 2009, 8:23pm Report to Moderator
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There's nothing to say that the idea of the film you saw is actually yours. As Cornetto said, they're a dime a dozen, and honestly, there aren't that many of them. I had an idea once for a guy who had multiple personalities. He was hooked up to a machine which allowed his doctor to walk through his mind and sort out his various personalities to cure him. A year or so later, The Cell came out which is about a doctor who hooked a guy up to a machine to walk through his mind's various facets to determine where he'd kept his victim before they died. There were so many similarities between the ideas that it was uncanny, but there was no way they had taken my idea. It wasn't on the net or anything. It was coincidence.

Besides, ideas are fair game. You can copyright a script or a treatment, but the idea can be snagged and written into something completely different. Now this doesn't stop studios from not reading unsolicited scripts because they're afraid of Joe Failure from Minnesota saying, "Hey my character's name is John too. They stole my idea!" All you can say is "I thought of that too...dang it."


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James McClung
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 12:47am Report to Moderator
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I had an idea for a movie in 2004 that was very similar to the concept of Hostel. Once I found out about Hostel, I was devastated and tossed the idea to the side. After I saw Hostel, I realized I could do way better and wrote the script anyway.

In short, if someone makes a movie with the same idea as one of your own, 99.9% of the time, it's just coincidence. After that, you can either move on or write something better. Even if your script was actually stolen, too many people with no case whatsoever have already sued studios and ruined your credibility. Frankly, if that were the case, I don't think money could appease me. But how often are scripts actually stolen and produced into universally recognizable works?

Bottom line. Protect your shit legally and write the best you can.


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Old Time Wesley
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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I'd agree that ideas are a dime a dozen... hell, even scenes are a dime a dozen and nothing you do except the way you arrange it is actually yours.

I saw ideas I had all over the place and they used it before i thought it up (Like Entourage) and you can't really do anything about it except change your stuff or possibly get the "You stole this or it is like that"

South Park said it best "The Simpson's did it"


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 1:58am Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from mcornetto
B. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And this sort of thing happens all the time, mostly by coincidence. I can't even count how many ideas I have had that I've ended up seeing on television or in the movies.  And it never means you can't still use the idea...you just have to put a different spin on it.  


I put three exclamation marks and a smiley on Michael's words. !!!  

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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mcornetto
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 2:29am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Sandra Elstree.


I put three exclamation marks and a smiley on Michael's words. !!!  

Sandra


And I counter your three exclamation marks and a smiley with one *.  

* A foot note:

Remember it's not the size of your idea that matters, it's how you use it.
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Tommyp
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 5:42am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Old Time Wesley
I'd agree that ideas are a dime a dozen... hell, even scenes are a dime a dozen and nothing you do except the way you arrange it is actually yours.

I saw ideas I had all over the place and they used it before i thought it up (Like Entourage) and you can't really do anything about it except change your stuff or possibly get the "You stole this or it is like that"

South Park said it best "The Simpson's did it"


That has happened to me a few times... it's more annoying than anything. I was writing my Two and a Half Men spec, while watching the actual show.

I wrote this joke, laughed, was happy with it. A few seconds later, that exact joke (worded slightly differently, but extrememly similar) came on the show. Grrr, annoying.


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George Willson
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 7:52am Report to Moderator
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Let us not forget the words penned by (or spoken by or at least stolen from) King Solomon of Israel some 3,000 years ago: "There is nothing new under the sun."


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rendevous
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from George Willson
Let us not forget the words penned by (or spoken by or at least stolen from) King Solomon of Israel some 3,000 years ago: "There is nothing new under the sun."


Did he have DVDs?


Out Of Character - updated


New Used Car

Green

Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 4:40pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from rendevous


Did he have DVDs?


He didn't need them.  

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
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A lot of the problem arises because of the misconception that coincidences are rare. We live in a world with over six billion people and we are all a lot more alike than we are different. Coincidences are far more common than most people realize.

The fact that we are so much alike while individually experiencing feelings of being different or unique is something con artists have been aware of for a long time. Psychics for example use general readings to obtain more distinct information through feedback and essentially just feed you information you “gave” them.

The erroneous feelings that coincidences are rare are what lead to all kinds of beliefs in things based on “personal experiences” rather than demonstrable facts. Just look at the myriad of imaginary things that humans believe in already: gods, angels, demons, souls, spirits, heaven, hell. The list goes on and on of things people believe in as fact when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to corroborate them.

This is the same phenomenon people usually experience when they think their ideas have been stolen. Most often it’s pure coincidence. In this business, people are constantly trying to create ideas. The same ones are going to get recycled and new ones are going to get generated. Some of the new ones are going to be identical because they will have been arrived at by the same thought processes.

The best thing to do if you think your idea has been stolen is to calm down and be logical about it. Realize that it’s very possible they thought of the idea the same way you did. Ask yourself if it’s even possible for them to have taken it. If it is, ask yourself what evidence there is of it. If you don’t have enough to sue, then you’re probably wasting your time getting upset about it.


Breanne



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Baltis.
Posted: December 4th, 2009, 6:42pm Report to Moderator
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Be exceptional... Don't worry about what idea is taken and what idea isn't taken.  As a writer you're not as strong as your best script or idea, rather the vault of material you have or are capable of coming up with.  

Do you think McDonald's got scared when Burger King said they were coming to market with burgers? No... A burger is a burger.  It's how you make it and what you do that the other guys don't do that makes it different.  

If your work is good enough you have a place in the business...
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