More on the Friday the 13th Ruling from Horror, Inc., Larry Zerner Weighs In

The copyright, trademark, and entertainment lawyer formerly known as Shelly breaks down the ruling.

By Chris Morse

Last Friday, a federal court finally made a ruling on the Friday the 13th rights dispute and the judgment was rendered in favor of the defendant, Victor Miller, who wrote the screenplay for the original film. Now that the dust has settled and the ruling has been made available for public review, we are finally starting to see the big picture here as more information is being made available.

Before we get into the specifics of the ruling, it's worth hearing from Horror, Inc., the plantiffs in the case who disputed Miller's attempt to reclaim the rights to the original film here in the United States. The fine folks over at Bloody-Disgusting received a statement from the company, which is owned by Sean Cunningham, giving the first public remarks on the ruling.

We are disappointed in the court’s ruling and disagree with its conclusion. We are considering our options including an appeal. In the meantime, the court was very clear that its ruling in favor of Mr. Miller is limited to the original screenplay in which Jason’s mother is the killer and that Mr. Miller’s termination notice did not purport to terminate the separate copyright in the iconic supernatural killer who wears a hockey mask. It also does not grant any rights to Mr. Miller that would enable him to use any element of the original screenplay outside of the United States.

Following the guidelines set down by the Court’s ruling, we intend to aggressively explore many opportunities for new projects featuring settings and characters (including the hockey mask-wearing killer) not included in Mr. Miller’s screenplay, and in fact are currently in development on new projects that are consistent with the ruling which will be announced soon.

This statement outlines several limitations in the scope of the ruling, which we have previously discussed, as the company considers its options moving forward. Among those options are taking this case to appeal, which could be an even lengthier process, or a settlement between the two gentlemen in dispute. Former Shelly actor and current copyright, trademark, and entertainment lawyer Larry Zerner took to Twitter and broke down what the ruling means and where the two sides can go from here.

We will leave this off with that excellent parting advice from Mr. Zerner. Make a deal and capitalize on the excellent place the horror genre is right now! As the statement from Horror, Inc. indicated, the company still has plans to explore any and all available Friday the 13th opportunities within the scope of their current rights as this situation continues to unfold, so considering a cooperative option also makes plenty of sense. That's all for now. Be sure to check back for all of the latest here on Dead Entertainment.


About the Author

Chris Morse

Thanks to his friends and family, Chris grew up surrounded by plenty of horror movies and video games. From self-taught web design as a teenager to a formal education in computer science, he has always had a passion for web technologies and has channeled all of those interests into building this website platform. Chris opted to dive straight into horror with this project and is joined by some of those very same influential friends and family here on the staff. When not programming or gaming, you can find him heading to the midwest to cheer on his favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers. Go Pack Go!

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