Weinstein Co. Settles Film Rights Dispute With Kevin Williamson (Exclusive)

The Weinstein Company Logo - 2012
TWC site

The Weinstein Company Logo 2012

The Weinstein Co. has reached a confidential agreement with writer-producer Kevin Williamson to resolve litigation over rights to a film project called Shadows.

The lawsuit was filed last April by TWC. The studio initially got into a quarrel with Williamson over Scream 4, a sequel to the popular series that Williamson first produced. A settlement was worked out in 2010 on that front, and as part of the deal, Williamson allegedly agreed to relinquish control over several other projects, including one called Shadows.

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TWC sued two years later, claiming that Williamson had breached the agreement by maintaining he still owned the property.

Williamson, who most recently created the just-premiered Fox TV thriller The Following,  challenged the lawsuit at the initial stage as being a fight over rights. His attorneys asserted that TWC's claims were pre-empted by federal copyright law.

In August, Judge Mary Ann Murphy rejected that argument, opting for TWC's position that the lawsuit was about the interpretation of a settlement agreement.

That month, Williamson's attorney, Marty Singer, told The Hollywood Reporter"There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Williamson ever conveyed the copyright in Shadows to The Weinstein Company. This is just another instance of the Weinsteins over-reaching ... It is absurd that the Weinsteins claim ownership of a project that they never paid one penny to acquire, nor did they ever receive a signed writing from Mr. Williamson conveying his copyright in the work, as required under the U.S. Copyright Act."

After Judge Murphy allowed the claims to survive, the parties entered mediation. 

Those discussions have yielded a new settlement, THR has learned. The parties still need to sign a stipulation to dismiss the case.

TWC was represented by Bert Fields at Greenberg Glusker.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner