*U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May will allow the Foundation for Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan to continue their copyright and fraud lawsuit the producers behind last year’s “The Good Lie.” The suit alleges that the filmmakers used The Lost Boys’ life stories but reneged on an agreement to pay them.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta back in February, the Foundation for Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and 54 refugees claim that they gave interviews as the project was being developed and were promised that the foundation would be the sole beneficiary of any fundraising efforts associated with the movie, per Variety.
“However, neither the refugees nor their foundation have been compensated in any fashion for sharing their traumatic personal stories and assisting with the creation of the script for ‘The Good Lie,’” the lawsuit states.
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Fifty-four of the displaced Sudanese people living in Atlanta filed lawsuits against Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and other producers on the film for breaching their initial contract terms for compensation and joint authorship.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiffs state in the lawsuit that they, “partnered with Defendants to create The Good Lie’s script, in part, based upon their promise that a non-profit foundation organized and run by the refugees would be the sole beneficiary of any fundraising efforts associated with The Good Lie. However, neither the refugees nor their Foundation have been compensated in any fashion for sharing their traumatic personal stories and assisting with the creation of the script for The Good Lie.”
Judge Leigh Martin May recently ruled that the Lost Boys have enough facts to support their copyright infringement and a possible future injunction.
“The Interviews, however, did not consist merely of ‘ideas, facts and opinion made during a conversation,’ like the interviews by journalists in the cases Defendants cite,” Judge May states. “Rather, the Interviews were a creative process designed to create material for a screenplay and film. All that an ‘original work’ must possess is ‘some minimal degree of creativity’ … even a slight amount will suffice. Plaintiffs’ telling of their personal stories in response to questions designed to elicit material to create a fictional script for a feature film likely includes enough creativity to render the Interviews an original work of authorship.”
Judge May concludes, “Plaintiffs have stated a cognizable claim for protection against continuing infringement by Defendants that, if proven, warrants entry of a permanent injunction.”
“The Good Lie” drama starred Reese Witherspoon and didn’t have much box office success.