My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood – Tess Gerritsen

In February 2014, my literary agent was informed of Cuaron’s attachment to my project back in 2000. Now the similarities between my book and Cuaron’s movie could no longer be dismissed as coincidence. I sought legal help, and we filed a Breach of Contract complaint that April. Please note: this is not a case of copyright infringement. Warner Bros., through its ownership of New Line, also controls the film rights to my book. They had every right to make the movie — but they claim they have no obligation to honor my contract with New Line.

via My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood – Tess Gerritsen.

Interesting. Would this precedent extend to other entities? If I buy a construction company that had existing contractual obligations with subcontractors, would I be free to ignore them? What other areas might this extend to?

6 thoughts on “My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood – Tess Gerritsen”

  1. Well, if you buy the assets of the company, you’re off the hook. If you buy the company . . . . different story.

  2. Gerritsen is now spinning this as a contract violation. I suspect WB simply sees no connection between her book and the movie.

    Gerritsen is on record as saying this:

    “…holy cow, the special effects were astounding enough. I’ve been peeved that my book GRAVITY was never made into a film (20th Century Fox owns the film rights). How I wished that Cuaron had told my story instead, but the movie he did make was a masterpiece of suspense. Go go go to see it!”

    1. If that’s the route that wants to go, then they’re REALLY screwed.

      Cuaron was attached to direct her story, back at the beginning. She didn’t know that until just recently. That’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

      If Warner wants to try and say that the contract doesn’t even matter, then she can get the contract broken as unconscionable, and then take them for using her story without giving her credit for it, and she’s got enough bread crumbs to be able to lead back to that point.

  3. Interesting questions, this and the Ventura cases. IMO our legal system has devolved into an ongoing ponzi scheme. On the criminal side there’s a vested interest in growing the criminal client base to protect and overflow rice bowls. On the civil side, ahh, not even going to start. The (or a) big question in my mind is whether any officer of the court takes their oath seriously. I’m skeptical.

    1. Shaun, the law in the Ventura case is not questionable. The ruling is. I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that Janos’ attorney could convince anyone that he still has a good reputation. That was a case decided by the jury. They don’t always get it right, which is why we have an appeals process in place.

      I still don’t see how WB can get out of this one. The good news is -from reading Tess’ post fully- that the court invited them to refile with more detail. Apparently that was the sticking point, not a point of law.

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