By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal
Leslie Weller has sued Gillian Flynn, author of the book Gone Girl and a host of others, for infringing Wellers’s copyright in a novel titled Out of the Blue. What is interesting about this case (aside from the fact that every successful movie seems to be based upon copyright infringement) is the case for access by defendant. Plaintiff emailed her script to a consultant whose books were edited by someone who was represented by the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, who also represented defendant Flynn.
Plaintiff’s claim is plausible on its face, but is so convoluted that defendant may be able to break the chain. However, this Complaint, and others like it, are a reminder of the importance of keeping records of development — whether its a story, a computer program or some other work — to be able to prove independent creation.
Plaintiff’s Complaint does identify a number of similarities in between Gone Girl and Out of the Blue, and it will be interesting to see the defendant’s response. If there was no infringement, hopefully defendants have records to show the independent creation.