Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law questions? Ask a lawyer

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I wrote and copyrighted a novel titled "Eclipse" in 1982.

Customer Question
I wrote and copyrighted...

I wrote and copyrighted a novel titled "Eclipse" in 1982. The story takes place int the museum of natural history in New York City. The book brings to life a dinosaur, mummy, other reptiles and so on.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

No. A movie called the "Night At The Museum" followed many years later.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes. Many people who have read my book and have seen the movie, say they thought the movie came from the book I had written, even though it was years later.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Intellectual Property Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Intellectual Property Law Question
Answered in 18 minutes by:
3/24/2018
IP Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
Attorney Wendy
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,189
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I am working on a response to your inquiry and should have that to you shortly.

Ask Your Own Intellectual Property Law Question
IP Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

If the movie is substantially similar to your book, the key to any proof of actual infringement would likely depend on their being evidence that whomever wrote the screenplay (or other book) from which the movie was derived used your work to create their work. This can sometimes be shown by such similarity that it must be more than coincidence, but simply similar stories may not be sufficient. The similarity must be "strikingly similar" such that it is not reasonable to believe the works were created independently. Assuming there is a provable copyright infringement case in this instance and that the movie is based on or the writers relied on your protected book to create it, the real issue I see at this point is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is that period of time within which any legal claims must be filed or lost. For copyright infringement that period is three (3) years from the date one has knowledge or can be charged with having knowledge (a sort of should have known standard) that the infringement occurred. Here where the movie at issue was released around 2006, you may have to face this hurdle should you wish to pursue a legal claim. Even if you did not see the movie or learn of the potential similarities until later, you may be said to have fallen in the should have known category since the movie was well publicized and not hidden. That said, you may want to consult with an attorney in your area to determine whether the state of limitations does bar any claim you may have had and, if it possibly could be avoided, if the similarities are sufficient to make it worth considering some compensation through either a demand letter and, if not successful, a lawsuit.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this email. If I answered your question and provided excellent service, I would greatly appreciate your 5 star rating at this time.

Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action is being proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as a result of this conversation.

Ask Your Own Intellectual Property Law Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you. I'm not sure how long copyright laws are in effect. But I do believe my book and the movie have at lease three and more relative points of being similar. It being in the Museum Of Natural History in New York City. A dinosaur coming to life as well as other displays coming to life. As in the movie "A Night At The Museum."
IP Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

That is certainly a starting point, but you would likely need more to show a striking similarity such that no reasonable person could believe two authors independently came up with their stories. That said, I believe the statute of limitations is the bigger issue - meaning that even if it was directly copied from your book and even though you have a valid copyright, since more than 3 years have passed since the movies release, you may no longer be able to file a lawsuit to enforce your rights as the copyright holder.

Ask Your Own Intellectual Property Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an ip lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Attorney Wendy Your Own Question
Attorney Wendy
Attorney Wendy
Attorney Wendy, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,189
1,189 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC

Attorney Wendy is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Robert McEwen, Esq.

Robert McEwen, Esq.

Lawyer

883 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

561 satisfied customers

I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.

Thomas Swartz

Thomas Swartz

Lawyer

466 satisfied customers

Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

461 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney in private practice.

Wilton A. Person

Wilton A. Person

Lawyer

352 satisfied customers

MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law

BartEsq

BartEsq

Researcher

192 satisfied customers

Juris Doctor

P. Simmons

P. Simmons

Lawyer

178 satisfied customers

12+ yrs. of legal experience.

< Previous | Next >

Related Intellectual Property Law Questions
Universal Studios had copyright on their hit TV Series "The
Universal Studios had copyright on their hit TV Series "The Virginian" back in 1960s. The series was based on an original book by Owen Wister in 1902. I have written a book about the Virginian, changi… read more
Attorney Wendy
Attorney Wendy
Lawyer
1,189 satisfied customers
I am working on story song books for children. Each story is
I am working on story song books for children. Each story is put to the the tune of well known children's songs. For instance, I have one story put to the tune of the "Let It Go" song from the Disney … read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I wrote a short fictional novel few years ago, and I believe
I wrote a short fictional novel few years ago, and I believe it inspired a blockbuster animated movie that was released in Summer 2015. What should/could I do?… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I agreed to curate an exhibition and write a book museum and
I agreed to curate an exhibition and write a book for a museum and asked them several times for a book agreement/contract. They verbally said they would, so in good faith, I finished the writing for t… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
I have written a book and its due to be published. I am concerned
I have written a book and it's due to be published. I am concerned about the title I have chosen. It's called The Meaning of Life According to Prince George. I live in the central interior of BC. Prin… read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers
Writing a work for publication about an author. 1. A. Photos
Writing a work for publication about an author. 1. A. Photos of the person taken before 1923: public domain, correct? 1. B. If that photo has been published in many books and websites but is now in a … read more
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
883 satisfied customers
I have written a book that I plan to self-publish. The title
I have written a book that I plan to self-publish. The title references an ancient historical city. As a for instance, let's say the title is, "The Coliseums of Rome". It isn't actually set in Rome, o… read more
montysimmons
montysimmons
Owner Simmons Patents
Doctoral Degree
328 satisfied customers
I would like to know how to research a specific copyrighted
I would like to know how to research a specific copyrighted material to understand what is copyrighted and what isn't. I am a writer and I would like to know precisely whatis copyrighted in the H.P. L… read more
montysimmons
montysimmons
Owner Simmons Patents
Doctoral Degree
328 satisfied customers
This is a really outrageous claim Im about to make, but nonetheless,
This is a really outrageous claim I'm about to make, but nonetheless, it is absolutely true. In the 1970's, I lived in a small town in West GA and dreamed of writing songs. I was a song writing machin… read more
Law Professor
Law Professor
Law Professor
Post-Doctoral Degree
1,105 satisfied customers
Last year, I hired a company to shoot some dog training videos
Last year, I hired a company to shoot some dog training videos for my non profit as a way to raise money for it. Prior to doing so they read about my story on line on our website. WHen they came to fi… read more
BartEsq
BartEsq
Researcher
Doctoral Degree
192 satisfied customers
I wrote an idea for TV in June 2011 I registered via WGA west
I wrote an idea for TV in June 2011 I registered via WGA west and after posted on scouting website. This past November a big TV station has reviewed my project so what i thought was a great news actua… read more
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
883 satisfied customers
What would define the intellectual property of a film? For
What would define the intellectual property of a film? For example let's use the movie Home Alone. If a movie is produced with a star named Kevin (like the actor in the movie) who recalls being left h… read more
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz
Lawyer
Juris Doctor
466 satisfied customers
Nearly three years ago I wrote a comic book. This comic competed
Nearly three years ago I wrote a comic book. This comic competed in an online DC Comics contest and was viewed over 100,000 times. Although I didn't win I had production companies reaching out to me i… read more
Law Professor
Law Professor
Law Professor
Post-Doctoral Degree
1,105 satisfied customers
Im a chiropractor and I am writing a book which I started
I'm a chiropractor and I am writing a book which I started seven years ago and have dabbled with over the years. I decided last year to complete it and that to get it finished I needed an assistant to… read more
Alex Reese
Alex Reese
Intellectual Property Attorney
JD
3,460 satisfied customers
I told a customer of Music Express Limo Service about the story
I told a customer of Music Express Limo Service about the story of my life and called it "The Karate Kid". He went and produced the movie and never mentioned my name. Title & story was mine. I also ga… read more
Alex Reese
Alex Reese
Intellectual Property Attorney
JD
3,460 satisfied customers
I want to base a character in a novel on the fictional off-s
I want to base a character in a novel on the fictional off-spring of fictional characters in a novel. The original novel 's copyright status is unclear. In order to get a clear, reliable answer, what … read more
Alex Reese
Alex Reese
Intellectual Property Attorney
JD
3,460 satisfied customers
I wrote a book a couple of years ago and it was given to a
I wrote a book a couple of years ago and it was given to a big celebrity. Recently, that person played a character in a movie that was very similar to the one in my book. The story line was somewhat d… read more
Attorney Wayne
Attorney Wayne
Attorney-at-Law
JD
1,492 satisfied customers
Do I need Disneys permission In my book my character sees
Do I need Disney's permission? In my book my character sees a series of tiny Railroad cars hauling coal. I write that they brought back a memory - (actual copy) the Diamond Mine, being worked by the s… read more
Alex Reese
Alex Reese
Intellectual Property Attorney
JD
3,460 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x