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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 118175
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I red a writer to help me adapt a previous comic book series

Customer Question

I hired a writer to help me adapt a previous comic book series that I own and had done years pervious. After the first 3 scripts our arrangement, without a contract, fell apart. I trashed the material and re-adapted my previous story from scratch. But the ex-writer is threatening to sue claiming that I'm still using his scripts. Does he have a case? Of course there are similarities because they are based off of the same material. But are unimportant lines of dialogue (2 lines) that are similar, grounds for litigation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

If you used material other than his material and you can prove that the only similarities is because it is based off of your original works then he likely has no case. Of course some lines of dialogue would be similar, such as a character making normal conversation and that is not enough to claim any type of infringement or that you used his work. If his attorney thought there was a case, they likely would have sued by now.

As you know, in intellectual property cases there is no real test, it is subjective to the judge who is going to look at your material and his material side by side to see the similarities and differences. In your case it goes one step further, since it is based on your original comic books, so the court would look at those as well to see if your current script is more similar to those than even the works of the writer and if so his case falls apart and he fails.