Russian Producer Wins Script Rights Lawsuit Against U.S.-Based Screenwriter

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -A general view of Red square and Kremlin-Getty-H 2016
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The California-based writer demanded extra payments, claiming ownership of the script.

A Moscow court has ruled that Russian companies Teterin Films and Croc fully own the rights to the script Ponedelnik Nachinayetsya v Subbotu (Monday Begins on Saturday), written by a California-based writer who claimed ownership of the work.

The court ruled that Teterin, which originally commissioned Yevgeniy Raksha, a Russian screenwriter residing in the U.S., paid him in full and is now the sole owner of the script.

Earlier this year, Teterin said Raksha had demanded extra payments for the script, claiming ownership rights and threatening to disrupt the production schedule of the movie.

The film company responded by filing a lawsuit, which became the first-ever lawsuit involving a Russian production company and a U.S.-based screenwriter.

"[The lawsuit] distracted us from work on the film," Veronika Gimenez, deputy general director of Croc, Teterin's partner on this project, said in a statement. "So we are happy about the court ruling and will be able to further develop the project with serious partners."

Now that the legal battle is over, work on the film, based on the 1965 novel by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, will continue.

Teterin, known for the local hit Viy, said the movie is set to be released in 2017.