Philip K. Dick Trust in Copyright Dispute with 'Adjustment Bureau' Filmmakers

Oct 31, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
The trust of late science fiction author Philip K. Dick has sued the makers of the Matt Damon flick "The Adjustment Bureau."

The trust of iconic science fiction writer Philip K. Dick recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of the motion picture "The Adjustment Bureau," based on the Dick story "The Adjustment Team." The suit alleges the film's distributor, producer and writer/director are attempting to avoid paying royalties by erroneously asserting the copyright on "The Adjustment Team" has run out.

According to the legal complaint, George Nolfi and Michael Hackett approached the Philip K. Dick Trust in 2001 to obtain the film rights to "The Adjustment Team." The trust sold the duo the film option "at a bargain rate," the suit states, based on an agreement that the trust would be paid substantially more money if the film was ever made.

"The Adjustment Bureau" was released in 2011, but the suit asserts the filmmakers have refused to pay the trust what it is owed, as they say they discovered the story originally appeared in print in 1954, meaning its copyright expired.

In its complaint, the trust argues the first authorized publication of the story was in 1973 and that both the domestic and international copyright for the story still hold.

Another famous sci-fi writer, Harlan Ellison, recently sued New Regency Productions for copyright infringement, contending the studio's recently released feature "In Time" is an unauthorized adaptation of his story "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman."