We Are Marshall is not a Ripoff

With a billion movie ideas floating around out there sooner or later someone is going to come up with an idea that might sound a lot like yours. Thats why there is a lot of suing going on in Hollywood over copyrights and ripoffs.

The latest conflict revolves around We Are Marshall. A filmmakers has decided that We Are Marshall was a ripoff of theirhis documentary on the same subject.

Cinematical says:

That film, Ashes to Glory: The Tragedy and Triumph of Marshall Football (which IMDB has never heard of), was a documentary about the real-life events depicted in We Are Marshall. The doc’s producers, Deborah Novak and John Witek, sued Warner Bros. for copyright infringement, fraud, and breach of contract, but a U.S. district court judge has ruled against them.

“Though the two works tell the story of the Nov. 14, 1970, airplane crash, that event, and the events that preceded and followed, are all matters of public record which cannot be copyrighted,” the judge wrote in his decision, as reported by Variety.

The funny thing is that AS I read the article the very first thing that hopped in my head is that something stinks about this.

How can they sue for similiarity of story when both movies are based on public record? OF COURSE THEY ARE SIMILAR!! Its based on real life events! Futhermore, its not like this detail escaped the accusers. Their film was a documentary. They are well aware that it was public record. We Are Marshall is a dramatic film which being based on a true story had to take some artistic liberties to tell it. Not the same at all.

Now if my joe plumber brain can figure all that out, what rocket scientist encouraged them to take this before a judge?

Their reasoning was that they approached Thunder Road (Producers of We Are Marshall) about turning their doc into a feature film. Thunder Road declined then made the movie anyways. I am pretty sure someone in their legal department said “These guys want us to make a movie. Its a good story. But we don’t require their involvement to make a movie on events of public record”

Its simple business sense. I’d like to cheer on the screwed over “little guy” as they stick it to the big bad studio. But I can’t. Thunder Road agreed that it was a great story but didn’t agree that they should pay these documentarians for it.

Apparently a Judge thinks so too.

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