Someone is trying to sell a film based on my deceased husband's stories does the estate have any rights? Posted on February 10, 2011This past March, my husband passed away. Before his death, he was involved with a film maker who took interest in his life and stories. He approached my husband about helping him develop scripts and eventually making films using my husband's past as the basis for many of the plot points. My husband allowed this man to video tape him telling his stories with the understanding that they were creative partners.
The filmmaker got a copyright in his own name for the video. He is now using my husband's death and image to try to raise money from people so that the film can be made. He admits that he is selling my husbands stories, not his own. It is very evident to anybody who has viewed the videos that my husband was a creative author. An such, would he have had any rights as a co-author to the video without having a copyright? If it was proved that the new script was based almost entirely on the stories my husband told on the video, would the estate need to prove any ownership of the original video to allow the estate to make a claim on the script, movie, etc..?
Please tell me how move forward and get this film maker to negotiate with the estate before he can sell any script, or creative work based on my husband's stories. My probate attorney said that anything my husband owned belongs to me as the surviving spouse and beneficiary of his estate.