P.J. McIlvaine spends her days selling flowers to stay afloat while trying to make it in the cut-throat world of Hollywood screenwriting.
But after creating a free online library of movie scripts as a resource for other screenwriters, McIlvaine ran into an unforeseen obstacle: Twentieth Century Fox.
TCF, a company that P.J. hoped to one day sell her script to, has come down on her with an iron fist, suing her for an inconceivable $12 million for copyright infringement. All because of her script aggregation website.
Although P.J. does have material owned by Fox, for the most part, the website is an aggregation of scripts that can already be found online.
The studio, clearly looking to make an example of someone, is specifically targeting P.J. because they believe that she “uploaded and made available to others via the Internet a script of Deadpool, the copyright to which is owned by Fox, and which is a script for a project still in development.”
Fox is making a concerted effort to remove the unreleased Deadpool from the web, to which they claim P.J. re-uploaded it after it was removed from other sites.
She is also accused of uploading “roughly 100 movie and television scripts” during 2009 and 2010, which are mostly comprised of older films like Aliens and Edward Scissorhands.
Between Deadpool and the other scripts, Fox is demanding upwards of $150,000 in damages for each of the 79 scripts on her site – although all but one movie has already released.
While P.J. does have copyrighted material on her site, all of these scripts can easily be found elsewhere online, and because of this P.J. believes the $12 million lawsuit is just a tad harsh.
Of course, Fox is standing its ground, claiming that P.J.’s actions “harm the fans who do not want their enjoyment of a movie or television show to be spoiled by knowing the story ahead of actually being able to watch it.”
One simple solution would be to just rent the movie or watch it for free on TV, since Aliens and Edward Scissorhands are on TV almost every other weekend.
Another option would be for the fans to avoid P.J.’s site, which is designed to be a resource for other screenwriters.
P.J., a truly ordinary struggling screenwriter has no money to hire an attorney or to fight Fox properly. Perhaps a more effective method on Fox’s behalf, would have been to send her a cease and desist letter, rather than suing her for everything and more than she’s got.
This marks a growing trend in creating an example to deter normal folks from “stealing” Fox, and other media distribution companies’ material.
So, if you’d like to help P.J., please make a PayPal donation via firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Via Torrent Freak)