'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Remake Fuels $20M Copyright Claim

Breakfast at Tiffanys Still - Photofest - H 2017

'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

A lawsuit brought by Truman Capote's statutory heir against Paramount Pictures over adaptation rights to Breakfast at Tiffany's continues to evolve. Now, the studio is facing a $20 million copyright claim just based on a screenplay that Paramount executives have circulated internally.

The litigation started out in Los Angeles Superior Court as a vehicle for determining whether reboot and sequel rights had reverted to a Capote entity. Paramount then had the case moved to federal court where the dispute's background — a Supreme Court decision and subsequent negotiation between the parties — was discussed in greater detail. Ultimately, a federal judge rejected a motion to remand the case back to state court.

Given that the case is now proceeding in federal court, Alan Schwartz, the trustee of a Truman Capote charity, is advancing a new copyright claim that arises from how Paramount has circulated a screenplay with the intention of turning it into a feature and selling it to a streaming platform. The project remains unproduced; nevertheless, Schwartz alleges in an amended complaint that because of the infringement, his side has already been damaged in the amount of at least $20 million. The charity has its eyes on a television series instead and has gotten numerous bids, but it presumably has had trouble proceeding while Paramount claims rights. The amended complaint also seeks recovery of profits attributable to the infringement, which Schwartz "expects" to be more than $50 million.

On Friday, the judge signed off on an agreement between the parties to allow the filing of the amended complaint. Both sides have also agreed that neither will be able to seek attorney's fees upon the adjudication.