Everyone who has a great Hollywood movie idea is scared of one thing; someone stealing the idea. That is not something uncommon in the industry that has released great and successful movies such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Last Samurai,” “The Matrix,” and “Broken Flowers.” The irony is that apart from the success that they share, all these movies have also been slammed with lawsuits on allegations of idea theft.
There are many more movies that have been claimed to be stolen in the industry. In fact, it has been reported that multimillion dollar movie ideas are stolen each year. The big question, however, is on whether your idea has actually been stolen.
Is Your Idea Really Stolen?
Before you can start looking for what to do about your stolen idea, you may, first of all, need to establish that it has actually been stolen.
There is a man known as Alfred Russell Wallace. Years before Charles Darwin came up with his theory, Wallace was also working on the same idea. He carried out extensive fieldwork and spent a long time writing. When his work was ready, he sent it to Charles Darwin, a renowned professor to go through it. At the end of the day, both men were working on the same idea but neither had stolen the idea.
The truth is that many people can come up with ideas very similar ideas from different parts of the world all at the same time. Therefore, before you claim your idea has been stolen, you will need to be certain that it is really your idea. More so, you need to establish the possibility of someone accessing your idea and using it probably from a missing computer, hacked device, or something like that.
Stealing movie ideas in Hollywood is not something that is unheard of, but the truth is that many of these big studios and even the smaller ones would prefer to pay for their ideas and everything they use because it is easier for them to pay for it than to deal with the legal battles that come after.
What To Do If Your Hollywood Movie Idea Is Stolen
If like many others you have your Hollywood movie idea stolen, there are many things that you can do about it. Here are some:
First of all, the bad news is that once your movie idea is stolen, there are not too many things that one can do when one’s idea is stolen. This is because copyright laws do not protect ideas. The only time that you can lean on copyright laws is after you must have expressed your idea before and someone steals it after you must have expressed it.
With that said, if you have indeed expressed your work, the next thing you will have to do is to ensure that your work is copyrighted. If you have copyright protection for the expression of the idea and not the idea itself, you may have a place to start from if your work gets stolen in Hollywood.
The next thing you have to do if your Hollywood movie idea is stolen is to prove that the two works in question are very identical. While having copyright protection is the easy part, proving that the two works are identical is the hard part. More so, you will have to prove that there was access for the infringing party to the work in question.
One important thing you need to know before starting a legal battle for your stolen work is that most of these studios and filmmakers are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars in court rather than settle you a few hundred thousand because they believe their reputation is on the line. As such you must be prepared before you start anything.
How to Prevent Your Work From Being Stolen
Rather than wait to have to get into a long fight that you may not win, here are things you can do to protect your work:
1. Have your work copyrighted. After investing all the time and effort in writing your work, you should also consider investing in copyrighting it.
2. Keep a detailed track of all those you are sending your work out to. This will save you a lot in case of any issues.
3. Never give your work to anyone you do not trust fully or anyone you think is shady.