Man’s Claim that Studios Stole His “Gilligan’s Island” Script Destined to Sink?
August 29th, 2014 by Michael Lee
A three hour tour and a three hour trial? A man claims that Warner Bros. and the other companies and people behind the remake of the new Gilligan’s Island movie stole his script about seven castaways from the “hood” and he wants the production shut down. There is a big problem for the plaintiff though: his alleged script is unauthorized.
Gilligan’s Island ran for only 3 seasons starting in 1964 but the show has been popular ever since. It told the story of seven “diverse” castaways who set off for a day trip and end up stranded on a desert island. Eventually, in a television movie made years later, the group gets rescued but then once again gets deserted after taking another cruise. Hollywood, of course, is rebooting the project for a new movie with Josh Gad playing Gilligan.
I must say, I don’t fully understand the basis for this case but here we go. Travis Dunson is a writer that claims to have written a screenplay entitled Gilligan’s Island: 7 Castaways from the Hood and in 2008 got the screenplay into the hands of Warner Bros. executives who “loved it”. Dunson never heard back but in 2011 he learned that WB had produced a screenplay and after reading an online summary, Dunson concluded that it was a copy of his movie. So he sued WB’s for copyright infringement.
So there are a bunch of holes in this complaint. First, the plaintiff has never actually read the script, only an alleged summary, it would be difficult to tell if his screenplay was plagiarized from a summary. Second and more importantly, the plaintiff doesn’t allege to have any rights to use the characters to create the screenplay in the first place. If the plaintiff used the characters and plot line without permission, then he is the one committing copyright infringement. Maybe the Professor can create a device to make this a winning case for plaintiff but I don’t see that one happening.