Source: Grill IP patents news
Another day, another thrown out claim of copyright infringement. California’s Central District Court recently dismissed a copyright infringement charge against the 2014 film “God’s Not Dead.” According to the Court, a lack of similarities of any significance existed between the work and the plaintiffs’ screenplay.
Screenwriters Michael Landon Jr. and Kelly Monroe levied an action of copyright infringement against Pure Flix Entertainment, the producer of “God’s Not Dead,” arguing that Pure Flix’s film and screenplay infringed the plaintiff’s screenplay entitled “Rise.” Landon and Monroe alleged that the plots, characters, and sequences in both works contain substantial similarities.
Upon comparison, the Court explained that while both works center on the challenging of a Christian student’s faith by their atheist professor, this premise is broad and legally unprotectable. Beyond this generic plotline, the screenplays have materially different stories, and similarities between the two solely involve unprotectable scenes a faire. Further, the Court concluded that the works have divergent moods and themes. The characters in both screenplays were also found to be dissimilar. Although both protagonists are Christian students whose beliefs are called into question by their professors, the characteristics shared by these students — devotion, loyalty, courage, kindness — are a consequence of the works’ related premise and did not involve any legal impropriety on the part of Pure Flix entertainment.
Kullberg v. Pure Flix Entertainment LLC is a classic case of significance misplacement, rendering Landon and Monroe’s suit moot. God may not be dead, but this charge sure is.Tags: Central District Court of California, Copyright Infringement, God’s Not Dead, Kelly Monroe, Kullberg v. Pure Flix Entertainment LLC, Michael Landon Jr, substantial similarities, US IP law