How Friday The 13th's Lawsuit Could Change Hollywood

Friday The 13th writer Victor Miller has been awarded the film franchise’s domestic rights; here’s how the lawsuit ruling could change Hollywood.

The rights to Friday the 13th has officially been ruled in favor of writer Victor Miller, and it could well inspire significant change in Hollywood. The rights to the 1980 horror classic Friday the 13th have been under contention for some time, with the film’s writer Victor Miller attempting to regain the rights to the film that spawned the iconic franchise. The film’s director/producer, Sean S. Cunningham, argued that Miller’s work on the screenplay was on a “work for hire” basis, meaning that he was ineligible to terminate copyrights — essentially, that the rights never belonged to Miller in the first place. In 2018, it was ruled that the screenplay wasn’t a work made for hire and that Miller’s claim was valid.

When Cunningham appealed the decision, it seemed that the rights to the film would remain mired in litigation, with some fearing the lawsuit would kill the Friday the 13th franchise — but it has now been definitively decided that Miller owns the rights to the film. The latest ruling deems Miller an independent contractor, not an employee, meaning that he has authorship rights over the original film’s screenplay. This mirrors the ongoing legal issues of Disney/Marvel over the rights of a number of characters — something which has long proved a barrier to the ever-growing MCU since dating back to before its conception.

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