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20th Century Fox has dropped a lawsuit against a woman accused of putting up 100 film scripts without permission. The studio initiated the legal action last year in an attempt to crack down on harmful leaks but has now backed off.
Patricia McIlvaine became a legal target after the self-described “struggling screenwriter” collected scripts already posted to the Web in an effort to assist other writers. After she was sued, she solicited donations for her legal defense fund.
Fox described McIlvaine’s activities as harmful. According to the studio’s initial complaint, her postings “interfere[d] and trade[d] off of the costly and carefully designed creative processes that produce finished works ready for public consumption. They harm the fans who do not want their enjoyment of a movie or television show to be spoiled by knowing the story ahead of actually being able to watch it.”
Fox accused her of posting scripts for Aliens, Edward Scissorhands, Wall Street and Glee as well as leaking a script for the unfinished X-Men prequel Deadpool. Potential statutory damages ran up to $15 million.
In her answer to Fox’s complaint, McIlvaine denied the allegations and asserted affirmative defenses including copyright misuse, fair use and the first sale doctrine.
The parties conducted discovery, but there won’t be any trial. Both sides submitted a stipulation to dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice earlier this month.
Fox didn’t respond to a request for comment on why the lawsuit was dismissed.
The dismissal was first reported by TorrentFreak, which quotes McIlvaine as expressing relief at the development.
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