I have a question about copyright. I just finished writing a comedy script which I would like to get made, but in the script I have involved some slight spoofs of other films and a few references. What I would like to know is does this infringe on the copyright? The references and spoofs are indirect and only take up parts of the film, but I don’t want to make a film then find out I’m being sued by everyone. Please help.
Usually, I’d write up a lengthy explanation of copyright law as I understand it, which although hopefully entertaining would probably be grossly inaccurate.
So I’ll just give my opinion instead. You can’t go through life afraid of being sued. If your script is funny, and part of the reason is because of references and spoofs of other movies, then you obviously don’t want to remove them. So don’t. I guarantee, no one is going to sue you just for typing them in your script.
If someone buys your script and makes it, maybe the copyright owners of the original movies will sue, but I seriously doubt it. There’s a long tradition of movies parodying each other, and it would be hard to prove any actual damage or wrongdoing.
Besides, at that point, it’s not your problem. Any lawsuit is going to be directed at the big rich studio, not the measly underpaid writer. There would probably even be language in your contract with the studio protecting you just in case.
So while I can’t say that you’re absolutely, 100 percent safe, I can assure you that your time is better spent writing funny scenes than worrying about lawsuits.