Disputed Projects

What happens members disagree about who controls the IP

Mary C. avatar
Written by Mary C.
Updated over a week ago

Who controls a piece of material can change frequently as option agreements lapse and movies sell.

When you list a film on Slated, you are warranting that, per our Terms of Service, you are the IP owner or otherwise have written permission to act on their behalf at the time of listing the project (TOS section 4.6).

Per Slated's Terms of Service (3.8 xii), we are not obligated to monitor or enforce rights disputes between members.

We also reserve the right to delete, suppress and modify film pages or other content from the site without notice for any reason (3.8 xv).

If Slated has reason to believe that a member knowingly listed a film in violation of our Terms of Service, or otherwise made false claims about their ownership, we may revoke their Slated membership (3.8).

Slated is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. Nothing in this article (or anywhere else) should be perceived as legal advice from Slated.

However, below are some common scenarios in which confusion around rights can arise, and who the controlling party is generally understood to be in each case as it may relate to Slated's Terms of Service and film page listings.

  • If you have written an original spec screenplay that is NOT based on any underlying material, and if you've never optioned, licensed, or sold the script to anyone, then you're probably the controlling party.

  • If you've written a script that includes someone else's IP - whether it's based on a short story or the script contains characters from other franchises - chances are you'll need the original IP owner's written permission to do anything with the project, including listing it on Slated.

  • If a producer has hired you to write a script under a "work for hire" contract (i.e. most writing assignments), then you likely have no claim to the material whatsoever (irrespective of any "written by" credit you may have negotiated).

  • If you've written an original spec screenplay on your own, and you've optioned it to a production company, or signed a shopping agreement or attachment agreement with an independent producer or director, then they likely have the rights to do what they want with the project for the duration of the agreement's term.

  • If you wrote an original spec screenplay, and optioned (not sold) it to a production company, and that option has lapsed, then in most cases, the rights generally revert to you upon expiration of the term. This, of course, depends on the details of the deal, and formal control of the IP should be determined by an attorney interpreting your contract.

If two Slated members dispute which of them is the controlling party on a film page, we may ask for written proof in some cases: for example, an option agreement with an expired term or a "work for hire" contract. If it's plainly clear where the rights lie, we may transfer ownership of the film page from one member to another.

However, if the chain of title is not plainly clear, we may ask you to sort it out yourselves. If the parties still can't come to an agreement, we may mark the project as a disputed project.

Disputed projects are not only removed from the marketplace, but they may not be relisted in the future without either the presentation of a corrected, verifiable chain of title, or a court judgement ruling one party as the definitive and exclusive owner of the IP.

If over the course of the dispute, one or more members make false claims or exhibit rude, threatening, or otherwise disruptive or disrespectful behavior to each other or to any Slated staff, Slated reserves the right to revoke one or both parties' membership permanently per our Terms of Service, Code of Conduct and Community Standards.

Remember, movies take years to get made. It's in everyone's best interest to behave respectfully toward one another and follow common sense guidelines on who controls the property at any given time.

The vast majority of changes of control over a piece of IP can be navigated graciously and without any friction between the parties.

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