As a lover of the first Matrix films, I was disturbed at what I learned today. It appears, the Wachowski siblings, producer Joel Silver, and the folks over at the WB have been enjoying the fruits of author Sophia Stewart's labor. Her case has been a tricky one. The internet has public several articles, but all varying in terms of outcome.
Here is some excerpts from Jasonskywalker5.wordpress.com about the case:
"According to court documentation, a FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in an attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. The investigation also stated that ‘credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers.’ These witnesses claimed to have seen Stewart’s original work and that it had been ‘often used during preparation of the motion pictures.’ The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart’s case dismissed, without success."
Time Magazine offers a different side to the story. Stating that things just weren't that cut and dry:
"On her website, Stewart does not claim she defeated the Wachowskis in court, but does say she won a $150 million judgment against Jonathan Lubell, her former attorney (now deceased). That court document does say she won a judgment, but U.S. District Judge Clark Waddups denied Stewart the sum she asked for. Instead, he asks her for evidence as to why Lubell should pay that amount. Stewart insists that she is owed $3 billion. “The judge took it upon himself to…[say] I had to tally up the damages,” she said, maintining that justice is her true aim. “I’m not seeking damages, I’m seeking for someone to go to jail.”
While this is somewhat old news, and the "truth" seems to be all over the place, a very strong message seems to resonate. Basically: PROTECT YOUR WORK!! At a time where fans are questioning the level of originality left in Hollywood, its no surprise that some folks will go to great lengths, even stealing, to make $$$. This just shows that stealing is alive and well in Hollywood. Authors, and Screenwriters just trying to get a shot at the big time are prime targets. It is important that every artist protect their works of art. Educate yourself on copyright rules and regulations.
`for more information on Copyright laws: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/
How to register your work for copyright: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html
Don't let anyone violate you by stealing your hard work. Always research, to make sure you're getting what you bargain for. Be prepared!!