Victor Miller Wins Rights Battle in ‘Friday the 13th’ Lawsuit

Judge rules that the Friday the 13th screenplay was not made as work-for-hire, clearing the way for rights termination.

The Hollywood Reporter posted a story on Friday that reveals the results of a lawsuit against the screenwriter of the original Friday the 13th movie.

Victor Miller

Victor Miller had moved to take advantage of a provision in US copyright law that allows authors to reclaim rights to their work after 35 years. The current rights holders, Horror Inc. and Manny Company, then filed a lawsuit against Miller in 2016 claiming that his work on the film was work-for-hire and thus not subject to the provision.

Friday’s summary judgement by US District Court Judge Stefan Underhill reads, in part, “I hold that Miller did not prepare the screenplay as a work for hire and that Miller’s Second Termination Notice validly terminated Horror’s rights to the copyright in the screenplay to Friday the 13th.”

The full text of the judgement can be read here.

What this means in terms of franchise and character rights is up in the air and seems likely to lead to more legal action.

That seems to reduce the likelihood of new Friday the 13th movies any time soon, unless Miller and Horror Inc. can come to a new agreement. What do you think of the decision?