When you sign a writing or option contract, you're asked to warrant (guarantee) that all your work is original. There is often a clause that says you are responsible for any "breach or alleged breach" of your warranty.
You need to get that "alleged breach" struck from the contract. You can't be responsible every time some idiot thinks you stole his idea. For example, some idiot is suing James Cameron
because he thinks Cameron stole his story and made AVATAR:
Moore contends that he first came up with ideas that surfaced in “Avatar” in a pair of his own screenplays, “Aquatica” and “Descendants: The Pollination,” including “bioluminescent flora/plant life, unbreathable atmospheres, matriarch support of hero vs. heroine, spiritual connections to environment and reincarnation, appearance of mist in scene, sunlight to moonlight, crackling from gargantuan foliage, blue skin/green skin and battle scene on limbs/branches,” according to the gossip web site.
This is particularly stupid, as everybody knows that Avatar is heavily inspired by FERN GULLY.
You should be responsible if you actually breach the contract. But you can't be on the hook if somebody takes it into their head that your movie is based on their life, or that they invented Ewoks, or whatever. Even nuisance suits are expensive to get dismissed. Movies have that kind of money. You don't.
Labels: contracts, rights