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Reese Witherspoon, Gillian Flynn subject of copyright litigation

Authors in California often work hard to ensure that their work is experienced by a wide audience of people. Unfortunately, in some cases they must also work hard to protect their creations from copyright infringement or allegations of infringement. For example, the popular novel -- later made into a movie -- "Gone Girl" is now the subject of litigation.

The novel was published in 2012. Over 15 million print copies of the book sold, and it spent over 130 weeks listed as a best seller; several of those weeks were spent in the number one position. Later, the author, Gillian Flynn, wrote a film adaptation of the book that starred Ben Affleck and was produced by Reese Witherspoon.

However, a recently filed federal lawsuit claims that the book was actually based on a screenplay given to a script consultant in 2008. According to the plaintiff, the script consultant had connections to Flynn's book agency, which may have shared it with Flynn. A representative for the plaintiff claims that "Gone Girl" utilizes several aspects of the original screenplay "Out of the Blue," including the characters, psychological composition, plot and structure. She is asking that all copies of "Gone Girl" be destroyed or impounded and all profits from both the book and novel be given to her. Flynn claims that the lawsuit is without merit and vows to fight the allegations in court.

After the effort put into the creation of a work, authors -- as well as those involved in the film adaptation if a movie based on a work is created -- must also work to protect their intellectual property from copyright infringement. Unfortunately, many in California without legal experience may be unaware of what steps to take in order to do so. Fortunately, an attorney can help both victims and those accused fully understand their options, including litigation.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Nevada woman says 'Gone Girl' was her idea; sues Chicago mega author", Taylor Hartz, Dec. 10, 2017

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