Disney, ‘Predator’ Writers Settle Screenplay Copyright Dispute

  • Two brothers who scripted the popular franchise prototype sued Disney to reclaim their copyrights
  • Disney argued that the termination notice was premature

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(Reuters) – Disney’s 20th Century Studios and the brothers who wrote the screenplay for the original “Predator” have agreed to drop their copyright lawsuit, according to a case filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The dismissal follows a December notice that the parties had settled their claims about James and John Thomas’ attempt to reclaim their share of Disney’s rights to their screenplay.

Lawyer for the Marc Toberoff brothers of Toberoff & Associates said in an email Wednesday that the parties had reached an “amicable resolution”.

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The Thomas brothers wrote a screenplay called “Hunters” in 1984, which 20th Century Fox bought in 1986 and turned into “Predator.” The brothers sued the studio in San Francisco last year, alleging it wrongly rejected their attempt to end its rights to the screenplay.

US copyright law allows creators to terminate copyright transfers and recover their works after 35 years under certain circumstances. The brothers had asked the court to declare their termination valid and to prevent 20th Century from creating new “Predator” works without a license.

20th Century sued the brothers in Los Angeles the same day, arguing the advice was premature and ineffective. He also said he has invested “substantial” time and money in the development of a new installment in the “Predator” franchise.

Disney and his lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US District Judge George Wu presided.

The case is 20th Century Studios v. Thomas, United States District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2: 21-cv-03272.

For 20th century studios: Daniel Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers

For the Thomas brothers: Marc Toberoff from Toberoff & Associates

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Blake brittain

Washington-based correspondent covering court cases, trends and other developments in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Previous experience at Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters Practical Law and working as a lawyer.