Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Judge Says We Are Marshall Is Not a Ripoff

This is one of the most ridiculous pieces of movie news I have seen in a long time. Apparently, the makers of a documentary about the 1970 plane crash that killed Marshall University’s football team decided to sue Warner Bros. for making We Are Marshall, a 2006 movie based on the same events. WB won the case yesterday, and the judge had this to say (from Variety):
"Though the two works tell the story of the Nov. 14, 1970, airplane crash, that event, and the events that preceded and followed, are all matters of public record which cannot be copyrighted."
Is it just me, or is this a no-brainer? Of course a movie based on real-life events is going to have something in common with a documentary on the same subject. The documentary-makers didn’t invent the story, so there’s no “copying” involved here. The judge must have had a good laugh at this case.

On the other hand, though, it might not have been such a bad thing if the makers of We Are Marshall had lost. At least then those of us who suffered through that awful movie might have been able to feel a sense of just compensation.

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