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Judge Clears ‘Gone Girl’ Creators in Copyright Dispute

25 May 2018

From Courthouse News Service:

A federal judge dismissed an author’s claim that the popular thriller novel and movie “Gone Girl” is based on her copyrighted screenplay, finding that the stories are considerably different.

“Overall, no ordinary observer could conclude that [Out of the Blue] and Gone Girl are substantially similar. Their common elements are standard in thrillers and at the level of particular expression they tell very ‘different stories,’” U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey wrote in a 33-page opinion issued Monday.

Author Leslie Weller filed a lawsuit in December against “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn, claiming she gave a copy of her screenplay “Out of the Blue” to a script consultant linked to Flynn, who then copied several elements of it.

Weller argued both stories focus on the central theme of “how well one person can really know another person.”

. . . .

Judge Blakely wrote that Weller failed to “connect the dots.”

“She describes a chain of professional relationships—most of which have no relation to Gone Girl—and invites speculation that some unidentified intermediary, for some reason, showed Flynn—who was by then two years into her work on the novel—an unproduced screenplay by a writer whom [her agency] did not represent,” the ruling states.

The judge also found that “numerous and significant differences” between the stories “weigh against finding substantial similarity.”

Link to the rest at Courthouse News Service

Here’s a copy of the court’s decision:

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Copyright/Intellectual Property, Legal Stuff

6 Comments to “Judge Clears ‘Gone Girl’ Creators in Copyright Dispute”

  1. Good, otherwise we’d only be able to have ‘one’ of each type of story …

    “But this one’s actually new! This time it’s hot unwrapped underground love mummies – in space!”

  2. “Weller argued both stories focus on the central theme of “how well one person can really know another person.””

    And how many hundreds or thousands of books/plays/movies/poems/etc have the same theme? She’s got her work cut out for her.

    • She’ll be suing me next, every time she thinks she knows what he’s been up to she finds it’s only the tip of a very large iceberg. 😉

  3. Not so fast. I believe her claim has merit. I believe that Big Publishing and Big Hollywood, and thousands of writers STEAL from other writers. I believe it happens all the time. What happens after the theft is that just enough is changed so that a judge like this one can say they are two different treatments. Take for instance, Coming To America, which was stolen from Art Buchwald. The thieves changed certain things, but perhaps they were lazy and didn’t go far enough, and so lost the case. Yes, this kind of thievery happens.

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