The feeling of powerlessness: How Hollywood crushed a student project

Ten years ago, a film student began making a movie based on “Reason”, an Isaac Asimov short story. He contacted Asimov’s widow, Janet, and received the necessary permission. A few months later, the project got the attention of Hollywood, where another Asimov-inspired film, “I, Robot“, was in production. As the former student tells the story, with the benefit of a decade’s perspective:

I responded by sending them the consent form from the Asimov estate, and explained that it was a student project, not a commercial venture worth litigating. … I was contacted directly by the lead of the studio’s legal team, who explained my situation to me very clearly. He told me that I was technically in my legal right to use Isaac Asimov’s material. However, if I chose to proceed, they would file multiple lawsuits totaling over 2 million dollars against me. In the end, I might win, but it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees just to fight it, but would cost them nothing more than the salaries they already pay their lawyers. It would be 10 years before any type of verdict could be levied, and by then it wouldn’t matter what the outcome was, since their film would be long since released.

Needless to say, the student project was never completed. And this is the industry that’s demanding even stronger Copyright legislation.

The entire article, over at reddit, is a must-read.

When you do, be sure no breakable objects are nearby.


2 thoughts on “The feeling of powerlessness: How Hollywood crushed a student project

  1. Steve,
    I did the sound on that movie, as well as all backup video copies. Lost contact with Ben but want to try to fix it for a lot of people who worked hard for no pay, except to create a great student movie. Obviousely 20th bluffed him into shelving it and scared the living daylights out of him. Clicking on “entire article” above went nowhere. If you know where Ben is I’d appreciate hearing from you. Since I have all the DVs i want to edit it again sicne it deserves a shot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s