Muller v. Twentieth Centry Fox

Order Granting Summary Judgment for Twentieth Century Fox

by Hank Fasthoff
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In what must be one of the most entertaining opinions to appear in a Federal Reporter, Judge Denny Chin of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals sitting by designation in the Southern District of New York, granted summary judgment in favor of Twentieth Century Fox who was sued by an individual who claimed that a screenplay he wrote entitled "The Lost Continent" was infringed in Fox's "Alien v. Predator" film.

"The Lost Continent" tells the story of "a government-led expedition to the Antarctic to investigate a mysterious structure below the frozen surface, a secret plan by a group called the Freemasons to recover a powerful crystal from the ancient city of Atlantis, and attacks by stone gargoyles come-to-life." The plaintiff claimed that Fox and the other defendants received a copy of the screenplay in 1997 and 1998--through somewhat tortured chains of custody--and that the defendants must have copied the screenplay when they wrote and produced "Aliens v. Predators," which was released in 2004. The plaintiff filed suit in 2008.

Judge Chin found that there was no access, no evidence of probative similarity, and that no reasonable jury could conclude that "The Lost Continent" and "Alien v. Predator" were substantially similar, and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

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Reference Info: Decision | Federal, 2nd Circuit, New York | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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