As of today, there is a lot less traffic on the road to new Friday the 13th content.
Before we jump right into the latest update on the Friday the 13th lawsuit, let’s take a look back at how we got here…
Back in 2018, a judge ruled that screenwriter Victor Miller is the sole owner of the original Friday the 13th screenplay (at least domestically). At the heart of the decision rests the United States Copyright Act’s terminator right, which allows authors after a certain passage of time to regain the rights to the work that they previously signed over to a company. Since then, Friday the 13th director Sean Cunningham and his Horror Inc. appealed the judge’s decision, arguing that Victor Miller should never have been granted the rights in the first place because he was a “work-for-hire” at the time of penning the film’s script; the termination right of course does not apply to works-for-hire.
On Thursday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2018 ruling, reaffirming Victor Miller’s status as the sole owner of the screenplay for the OG Friday the 13th. At this point, Sean Cunningham and Horror Inc. can again appeal the court’s decision to the Supreme Court; however, it is highly unlikely that the highest court in the land would accept the case in the first place.
It’s worth mentioning that Victor Miller’s screenplay does not include the hockey mask-sporting adult Jason that we came to know from the sequels. That iconography still belongs to Sean Cunningham and Horror Inc. as do the international rights to Victor Miller’s screenplay. (American laws after all are only valid in America.)
The new ruling should push the two parties to come together and work out some sort of deal, that is if either of them expect to make any new F13 movies. At least, for now, the legal battle is finally over.
What do you make of this update? Are you glad that Victor Miller finally could catch a break and get what he deserves? Or do you think Horror Inc. had the better argument in this instance? Perhaps you don’t care either way and you just want to see a new Friday the 13th movie? Sound off in the comments below and let us and the rest of the slasher loving community know your thoughts!