An interesting take on the “you infringed upon my earlier work argument.” Two parties – Gerald Brittle and Warner Bros – created work based upon the case files of alleged parapsychologists Lauren and Ed Warren. Brittle claims his rights were still in effect based upon his authorship of The Demonologist:
Had defendants done a chain-of-title search, Brittle claims, they would have found they needed his — not Lorraine’s — permission and support to legally produce their films. Warren and Brittle initially gave their subsidiary motion picture rights to book publisher Prentice Hall, which later transferred them to Brittle with Warren’s agreement.
Warners fired back that their work was based upon “historical facts” and not Brittle’s book. According to the article this is “a common argument raised during copyright dust-ups involving true life tales.”
But Brittle claims to have an “ace-in-the-hole” because the Warrens work was…to be frank…bullshit.
“Lorraine and Ed Warrens claims of what happened in their Perron Farmhouse Case File, which the Defendants freely and publicly admit their The Conjuring movie was based on, does not at all jive with the real historical facts,” Henry writes. “This is a pattern of deceit that is part of a scheme that the Warrens have perpetuated for years … There are no historical facts of a witch ever existing at the Perron farmhouse, a witch hanging herself, possession, Satanic worship or child sacrifice.”
So the question is: if you write a book which you think is a true story but later believe it to be based upon made up stories: who owns the future rights to that story? Are the Warrens’ Case Files historical facts…even if they are lies? Or are they just stories and everything based upon them are derivative works?
Lastly, if you think something is true does that make it a fact? If the answer is yes…don’t tell my daughters.