Warner Bros the studio behind some of your favourite films faces a $900 million dollar lawsuit over whether ghosts are real or not.
As ridiculous as it sounds, this is not clickbait (this is not UNILAD). Demonologist author Gerald Brittle is going against the studio, including director James Wan, screenwriters Chad Hayes and Corey Hayes, RatPac-Dune Productions and others for copyright infringement and more.
“This pattern of ongoing infringement by Defendants in the instant matter has caused Brittle irreparable harm”. This is a direct quote from the seven-claim complaint filed in federal court. If you are a fan of the Conjuring series or Annabelle, you may have noticed during the promotion of the films. Warner Bros stated the films were based on real life stories. It is this stories that Gerald Brittle is suing for. Brittle wrote a book about Ed and Lorraine Warren, a couple who investigated the supernatural.
Brittle claims after the book was published he signed a contract with the couple giving him the rights to their adventures:
“Like Warner Brothers in the Innovative Matter, Plaintiff Brittle claims that the Defendants, inclusive of Warner Brothers and New Line Productions, have and continue to willfully ignore and infringe on Plaintiff’s exclusive copyright protected rights (i.e., reproduction, distribution, public performance and the exclusive right to authorize derivative works, among others) within his exclusive subsidiary motion picture rights in the book he authored, The Demonologist”
The films have all together made a staggering $900 million at the box office , it is this that Brittle is hoping to get chunk of. If the suit is accepted we could be looking at jury trial and unspecified damages. Brittle is being represented by Bradley Marrs and Patrick Henry II, and in their 335-page motion they state “Brittle seeks disgorgement of all of Defendants’ profits derived from said infringement and an injunction to insure the pattern of infringement is stopped”.
Warner Bros have not yet released a public statement to address the situation and have told all publications that they have “no comment” on the matter. It must be noted this is not Brittle’s first time suing the company. He first brought this case to court back in November last year. Brittle failed in his attempts to block the premier of the film The Conjuring 2 with a cease and desist notice, citing he had the rights to the Warren’s case files. The film went on to gross $320.3 million dollars at the box office.
Now this all happened back in 2015, however, Warner Bros legal team defended the position that no one can own the rights to historical facts. They argued that the work was not based on Brittle’s writings rather the reality of witches and ghosts. This is where the story gets interesting. Brittle and his legal team now believe they have a trump card to defeat Warner Bros. Brittle has stated that there is nothing factual about the couple’s case files, and he has accused the Warrens of fabricating their story and perpetuating a hoax for years . “To the extent the defendant movies are not based on historical fact , they can not claim they are protected by the fair use doctrine exemption to copyright”. If the case goes to trial, Warner Bros would have to prove that witches are real and that a doll possessed by spirits can be found somewhere in the world.
This would be a ground-breaking case in which Warner Bros would have to make the first official paranormal discovery, or face losing the profits they made from the Conjuring movies, their spin-off’s released and future releases.
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