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Saturday, July 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Hollywood Copyright Fight Over Holocaust Film

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Hollywood filmmaker swiped the gist of a screenplay set in a Nazi concentration camp to develop a competing story of his own, a writing duo claim in court.

In a federal lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages, Bernard Hiller and Gabriel Bologna claim Mexican filmmaker Luis Mandoki was hired to direct their screenplay "Brundibar" after co-defendant Informant Media optioned the work in February 2012.

During that 12-month option period, Mandoki read the screenplay several times, and later used the writers' copyrighted work to develop his own project, the writers claim in Federal Court.

The writers say their story is about historical events and characters, but they created original material that is not in the public domain.

According to the 8-page lawsuit, Informant Media did not extend the option agreement after it elapsed, then pitched Mandoki's screenplay around town.

"Informant has been, without authorization, marketing and soliciting, and continuing to market and solicit, the Mandoki screenplay to various parties in the entertainment industry," the complaint states.

Named as defendants are Mandoki, Informant Media, its partner and producer Judy Cairo, and producer and actress Athena Ashburn.

Alleging copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement, the plaintiffs seek $1 million in general, special, actual and statutory damages. They also want Informant and Mandoki enjoined from making the film.

Hiller and Bologna are represented by Carmen Shain of Malibu.

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