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Deleted Screenplay Fails To Make Money 141

mytrip writes to mention the confusing case of screenwriter Nicholas Boyd, who tried to strike it rich by suing SBC, and got more than he bargained for. When an SBC technician accidentally deleted the aspiring screenwriter's work, he brought a lawsuit against the company claiming that a million dollar deal was in the works. Reality disagrees somewhat with his assertions. From the article: "The jury apparently didn't believe the German witness' testimony that a $2.7 million deal was in the works. Jurors found that Boyd could recover out-of-pocket damages of only $60,000 and said that he was responsible for 55 percent of the fault resulting in the deletion of the screenplays ... Both SBC and Boyd appealed. The California state appeals court (second district) eliminated the punitive damages, upheld the compensatory damages--but said Boyd must pay for SBC's legal fees for the appeal, which could easily be in the range of his $27,000 compensatory damages award."
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Deleted Screenplay Fails To Make Money

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  • Backups (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lxadu99 ( 8549 )
    Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to a few writers about backups. I used to work as a tech at a retail chain, and the number of people who didn't know what a backup was unbelievable.
    • Best way to preserve your writings is to print out the hard copy.

      And no, Manuscripts do not burn [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:Backups (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alshithead ( 981606 ) *
      It won't serve as a wakeup call to anyone. Anyone who isn't already backing up their work won't start until the same thing happens to them. He wrote the stuff, if he can't recreate three screenplays from memory then he's screwed. It's not like it was three huge, thoroughly researched sci-fi or historical fiction novels.
      • Re:Backups (Score:3, Interesting)

        "It won't serve as a wakeup call to anyone. Anyone who isn't already backing up their work won't start until the same thing happens to them. He wrote the stuff, if he can't recreate three screenplays from memory then he's screwed. It's not like it was three huge, thoroughly researched sci-fi or historical fiction novels."

        I'm impressed you guys actually think he didn't have a backup. If there was a million dollar deal in the works, surely he had sent the script to somebody to read and say "we might be inter
        • Re:Backups (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Wavicle ( 181176 )
          I'm impressed you guys actually think he didn't have a backup. If there was a million dollar deal in the works, surely he had sent the script to somebody to read and say "we might be interested".

          I suspect the jury thought much as you do. They completely dismissed his attempt at compensation for the $2.4M deal that was supposedly in progress. The money they awarded him was for the time it took him to research and write the screenplays. And they found him mostly at fault for the permanent loss.

          I strongly disa
    • Yea, he shoulda backed it up, but in December of 2000, undelete programs were readily available on teh intarweb.

      And if he was seriously looking at a million plus payday, he coulda shelled out the thousands of dollars for a commercial file recovery service.


      /When I was younger and semi-savvy with computers, I didn't know about undelete programs & didn't backup shiat.

  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:45PM (#15680885)
    Just goes to show that verbal contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on.
    • I don't think it would have been material to the case even if he did have a written deal memo, if there wasn't financing to back it up. It's easy for you and I to have a written contract between the two of us based on an imaginary screenplay of yours and imaginary funds that I hope to raise from investors. Even paper can be pretty worthless if there isn't anything backing it up.
      • I don't think it would have been material to the case even if he did have a written deal memo, if there wasn't financing to back it up.

        If he'd actually been anywhere to close to making a deal, the backers would have seen, and have hard copies, of the scripts. Who is going to commit almost a million dollars to a script from an unknown writer without seeing it, just based on a one paragraph outline?

        Anyway, if any of the scripts ahd been bought, they'd have gone through many, many rewrites before cameras r

    • If you also lose your screenplay, you can still make tons of $$$:

      Keep pressing key '4' while holding down Shift

      ______________
      Just couldn't resist ;(
  • The First Rule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shidarin'ou ( 762483 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:47PM (#15680890) Homepage
    The First Rule of screenwriting is to back up everything on multiple formats, in multiple places.

    As this idiot can now attest, you never know what will happen to one location, one computer or even one draft- especially when the stakes are between zero dollars and 2.7 million.

    What would he have done had his apartment been destroyed by fire? Sue the complex for the same thing? What would he have done had a random computer virus deleted or overwrote the files, sued the virus protection company whose software he declined to keep up to date?

    Nothing to see here but idiocy at work.
    • I thought that the first rule of screenwriting was, "Never talk about screenwriting." Actually, empirical evidence suggests that the first rule of screenwriting is ... always talk about screenwriting. To everyone. All the time. Incessently. But that's beside the point (and probably mispelled).
    • "...Ours is not an easy age
      We're like tigers in a cage
      What a town without pity can do..."
    • The First Rule of screenwriting is to back up everything on multiple formats, in multiple places.

      Actually, the rule is "always cover your arse" (or "ass" if you're in the US), of which this is a corollary.

      Similarly, why, do you suppose, did this "screenwriter" not lodge a hard copy (and possibly a CD) with his local writer's guild before entering into any negotiation whatsoever? Not only is it a useful offsite backup, it's proof that you had the story at a certain time, should the studio that you negot

  • by SteeldrivingJon ( 842919 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:52PM (#15680906) Homepage Journal

    Was it by chance Uwe Boll?
    • Any moment in which he is giving testimony is one more moment in which he is not raping some poor defenseless franchise of its worth, dignity, and scruples. So, those moments? Worth their weight in gold. Heck, one moment testifying is one moment closer for him to oblivion. Assuming he's human.
    • I think it's more likely that Boyd is one of Boll's distant relatives. "The color of tulip"? "Blood on This" and "Blood on That", bigger and better than Ben Hur? They've certainly got the same overinflated opinions of themselves. Boll was the first person that I thought of, when it was mentioned that a German investor was interested in the scripts, sight unseen.

      Given that Germany is sewing up the tax loophole that Boll's investors were using, it's doubtful that Boyd would have got jack or shit anyway.

    • Re:German witness? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In which case the SBC technician should be commended by all for putting a halt to another Uwe Boll atrocity.
      • "In which case the SBC technician should be commended by all for putting a halt to another Uwe Boll atrocity."

        Let's not be hasty. I'd pay good money to watch "Uwe Boll's Burgertime" with Tara Reid as the intrepid chef.
  • No Brainer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:54PM (#15680917) Journal
    If there actually was a $2.7 million deal in the works, it would have been worth the money for an immediate forsenic recovery, or failing that, replacing the HD and setting it aside for later forsenic recovery. Notwithstanding SBC's negligence, this was really not much more than a frivolous nuisance suit.

    The question is, was his lawyer working on contingency or by the hour? If the later, he's probably lost a fair amount.
    • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:04PM (#15680951)
      It actually does say in the article that he did eventually get a forensic recovery of the data. But he didn't set aside the hard drive and the files were overwritten by Napster and other data.

      Does this mean that the entertainment industry can say that it lost another $2.7m to napster?
    • You seem quite knowledgeable about forsenics...
    • Re:No Brainer (Score:3, Informative)

      by prockcore ( 543967 )
      If there actually was a $2.7 million deal in the works, it would have been worth the money for an immediate forsenic recovery,


      If there actually was a $2.7 million deal in the works, his business partners would've had copies of the screenplay. The deal is always for the rights, never for the actual manuscript itself.
  • I call Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:56PM (#15680920)
    Let me get this straight: a writer is closing in on a multimillion dollar deal with a production company to buy his screenplay. And I'm supposed to believe they signed on without ever receiving a copy!

    When you submit a screenplay to an interested party, the first thing they usually do is start photocopying it. Dozens even hundreds of times depending on how far through the process the screenplay makes it. When someone buys a screenplay, they usually run it past dozens of individuals before it's even looked at by someone with decision making power.

    Many of the modern screenplay formatting rules have come from the need to photocopy it with as little degradation as possible.

    The good news is. It shouldn't take him more than a a day or two to rewrite it. Once you know your story and characters, and have worked on the screenplay in your head for a number of years it shouldn't take you more than a couple of days. Besides who buys a screenplay and doesn't do a rewrite?

    God I have like 20 copies of several screenplays from college just lieing around in a box in my closet. I can't believe somebody would never print off, backup or email a copy of his screenplay over the course of time it took to write it.
    • Actually, you don't submit a screenplay. You submit a one page treatment, or even in some cases, a two sentence concept. If the other party is interested, then they ask for a screenplay or contract with you to write it if it's not actually written yet. Alternately, if you're lucky enough to get a meeting, you pitch your ideas face to face with a decision maker.

      When you just mail your screenplay directly, you're causing extra work for some person whose job is gatekeeper, i.e., they're paid to say no.

      Many of
      • Re:I call Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

        by jbreckman ( 917963 )

        Typically, there are two ways of selling a screenplay.

        You described way #1. You pitch an idea and they work out some sort of deal for your idea.

        Way #2 is called writing it on "spec". That involves actually writing the full screenplay without having a deal in place, and then shopping it around to studios to see if anyone wants to buy it. Obviously this way is considerably more risky.

        The difference is in the pay. Way #1 pays well, but not NEARLY as well as way #2 pays. There is a huge risk to studios

        • Re:I call Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:08PM (#15681175) Journal
          #2 virtually never happens. Seriously, I've worked in this town for 23 years. You have as good a chance of winning the lotto as you do of slipping your spec script over the transom and getting a deal.



          The Long Kiss Goodnight [imdb.com] was written by [imdb.com] a veteran screenwriter, someone with a track record. Look at his credits: All the Lethal Weapon movies, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero.

          Bottom line: I can't imagine a situation where any studio would offer, or even mention $2 million without having script in hand.

          Bottom line: I can easily imagine a situation where a producer options a script for a $1 with the contractual promise of some huge sum going to the writer from the net profits, without every laying eyes on the script. I'm sure this happens 50 times a day. (OK, probably an exaggeration, but I'm sure you've heard the jokes about screenwriters and the jokes about producers.)

          There was no studio involved in the deal. It was a German producer. Want to be a producer? It's easy. Just say you are. Printing business cards is entirely optional. Want to be a German producer? Travel to Germany and say you're a producer.

          Anyway, Boyd's story is implausible, but not for the reasons you cite. Come kick around L.A. for a few years and try and sell those scripts. It's a disgusting slimy business, but at least it's not the music business. We have that at least.
    • The good news is. It shouldn't take him more than a a day or two to rewrite it. Once you know your story and characters, and have worked on the screenplay in your head for a number of years it shouldn't take you more than a couple of days.

      I only write short stories for the interweb, and even losing a day or two of work (much less a whole novel) would be devastating. All the careful wording that's the real beauty of any piece of writing would be lost -- it was tied to how you were at the moment you were
      • Re:I call Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:48PM (#15681304)
        I only write short stories for the interweb, and even losing a day or two of work (much less a whole novel) would be devastating....He could redo it, maybe even come up with something better. But it would never be the same.

        Scripts are always rewritten, often dozens of times, by several writers, committees, the producers, the director, the actors. What ends up being shot can be unrecognisable from the original script. Hollywood is full of stories of sometimes great writers who were lured there and were paid huge amounts to do a script treatment; then more to rewrite a dozen times; then it was handed over to a hack who completely rewrote it; then the financing fell through and it was shelved. If redoing a day's work would devastate you, don't even think about Hollywood.

    • You don't even need the deal to be in place for this to be Bullshit.

      I'm a writer, and I back my work up constantly. USB flash drive, CDs, print outs, and e-mailing it to myself. I occasionally e-mail drafts to friends for a proof read, as well. This is just basic, no money involved, writing to write stuff.

      If you add money to the occasion, print outs and CDs in a safe deposit box somewhere. Multiple drafts, even.

      If Tor offered me a $2.7M advance on a novel, I'd be backing that shit up at the end of every cha
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It shouldn't take him more than a a day or two to rewrite it. Once you know your story and characters, and have worked on the screenplay in your head for a number of years it shouldn't take you more than a couple of days.

      [...]

      God I have like 20 copies of several screenplays from college just lieing around in a box in my closet.


      If you ever wondered why they're in a closet and not on the screen, that's why.
  • by slashbob22 ( 918040 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:57PM (#15680926)
    If Aurora Media had offered a contract (pending funding) then they must have seen the screenplays. Even if they were hardcopy Boyd would not have lost his material, sure he may have had to retype it though. I don't see how he can claim that because this overzealous technician deleted everything that where were NO backups of it anywhere. Could someone explain this to me, is there a screenwriter's code I don't know about?
    • 1. The first rule of screenwriting, is that you DO talk about your screenplay. Repeatedly.

      2. The second rule of screenwriting, is that you DO talk about your screenplay. Repeatedly.

      3. When the reader's eyes glaze over, you stop.

      4. One script.

      5. No backup. ...
      • Of course! But you are forgetting step 6:

        6. Profit!

        I suppose it is all about marketing an intangible. A studio will likely perform many rewrites after a contract is accepted anyways, so why bother. But still.. .. .. No Backups?
  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:58PM (#15680930)
    Whether or not it was wise of him to sue, SBC screwed up and he is going to get nothing for it. You hear a lot about tort reform from politicians, but the tort reform always seems to strip the little guy of recourse to the courts, and does nothing about the people who really abuse the courts, the corporations. Although now that they're passing laws giving jail time for copying MP3's, it won't even be abusing civil courts soon, now it will be criminal courts.

    I ran a website once which was "Web 2.0" before they had a name for it - like Myspace, Geocities, Ebay and whatnot, the public had a lot of input into site content, and if anyone complained about something illegal, I almost always removed it. Anyhow, I got flooded with legal letters, some of them quite ridiculous - Blizzard sent me a letter about some supposed DMCA violation - someone made a hack that let people play Starcraft on non-Battle.net servers. I couldn't afford a court case and those troubles though so I took it down. These are the people who really abuse the court system, the headlines of corporate newspapers always bemoan how it's a travesty the average Joe can sue a big corporation though.

    • If there's enought bullshit out there that there are at lease 6 judge shows on tv, something is wrong.
    • Perhaps, but this isn't the one to fight it on, by a long shot. In the case of "Idiot loses script, has no backups, looks for someone to blame." there isn't really much evidence that the corp's overpowering influence unfairly made (or was even needed to make) this case.
    • i doubt SBC even screwed up, why would a DSL technician be deleting user files unless the guy saved his scripts in c/windows/drivers or something like that.
      • i doubt SBC even screwed up, why would a DSL technician be deleting user files unless the guy saved his scripts in c/windows/drivers or something like that.

        I have to wonder... There may have been a lot of orphaned files, broken downloads, cluttering up the desktop and he was just trying to tidy it up. Did the writer have a folder called "scripts", and the tech thought these were installer scripts, or something similar left over from a failed install, and helpfully cleaned them up? Though personally, I wou

    • Whether or not it was wise of him to sue, SBC screwed up and he is going to get nothing for it.

      Let me be the first to say it: Good.

      He got awarded damages. He probably could have settled with SBC to begin with and been fairly compensated for the problem. But he decided to play the litigation lottery, hoping to turn his poor planning and subsequent misfortune into a huge jackpot. I'm glad he lost.

      Every time one of these people wins, things get more expensive for everyone. Fewer products and services are a
  • Today, I did not clean the dust out of my power supply. Nor did I unplug my computer during an electrical storm. I'm livin' La Vida Loca!!!

    Honestly, some guy doesn't run a back-up and it gets on Slashdot? Must be a really slow news day...
    • Today, I did not clean the dust out of my power supply. Nor did I unplug my computer during an electrical storm. I'm livin' La Vida Loca!!!

      Me neither, and so far everything is just fi

                   
  • by Mike Kelly ( 864224 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:05PM (#15680954)
    Burgess Forensics said the reason was that 4,134 files were saved to the hard drive after the screenplays were deleted--overwriting the unused space that could have otherwise been recovered. (Additions included Napster and RealPlayer and their related media files.)

    If he dropped a hard-copy on the sidewalk and could only find a few pages when he came back the next day, isn't that his own fault? He should have unplugged the computer and taken it to an expert immediately! I guess he was having too much fun with his new broadband to notice that his "multi-million dollar" script was missing. /sarcasm

  • This would make a great screenplay as a legal thriller. Maybe instead of the local DSL install guy it's another jealous writer who broke in and deleted his work. That would spice it up. Nah...still sucks so I guess he's screwed.
  • to follow thru with the suite? Maybe he can sue his lawyer next for incompetent representation.
  • was do a simple file restore immediately after the fact

    but he kept using the computer, installing new programs, writing over the deleted files

    even assuming complete computer idiocy, i'm certain someone amongst even a small circle of friends would have known this rather well-known issue, and he certainly would have been fuming about this to them


    • RE: your sig I'm making a Low Budget HDV Filipino Horror Movie in NY [griefmovie.com]

      Rumour has it that if you trash the only copy of your screenplay you can sue your ISP for millions!
      • i've already backed up my screenplay on the intarweb using a patented methodology i call "astroturf steganography":

        1. i broke my screenplay up into paragraph fragments

        2. i used a script to comment spam these fragments into random blogs with a unique identifying string, namely "I'm making a Low Budget HDV Filipino Horror Movie in NY [griefmovie.com]"

        3. when i want to recover, i simply do a google search on "I'm making a Low Budget HDV Filipino Horror Movie in NY [griefmovie.com]"

        voila: instant backup ;-)

        oops... i've just given my script away for free to anyone who reads this comment

        dang

        well, maybe i can sue you under DRM for breaching my cryptographic techniques to access copyrighted material

        for reading this comment, you owe me $3,500

        awesome!
  • Dishonest? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OverflowingBitBucket ( 464177 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:50PM (#15681108) Homepage Journal
    So he had scripts that might be worth $2.7m. And he kept the only copies of it on a laptop. And no printouts. Because a writer wouldn't want to print out his work in progress from time to time to proofread it. And no set of prior versions to revert to. What about the person offering $2.7m. Did they have at least part of a copy? That's a lot of money for something sight unseen. So he gives the laptop containing the one and only copy of a script potentially worth $2.7m to a techie? And when the techie says the files aren't needed and tries to delete the files, the writer doesn't immediately rip the damn thing out of his hands?

    What's this guy do for fun, leave his sole copy of a million-dollar script sitting on the roof of his car when he gets it repaired and sues the mechanics if they lose it? Seriously.

    I don't know about you, but the second someone suggests something I have is worth $2.7m, I go home, I get about 20 CDs, I burn copies of them and the backups. I buy a cheap safe and store some in there. I buy a lockbox, drop three copies in it, and store it at a trusted friends place. I conceal extra copies around my house or office in case I'm targeted. I print out what I have, and prior versions as proof that I developed the script should its ownership ever come into doubt. Some of those printouts go offsite.

    Methinks the writer may have been just a teency, teency bit dishonest here. Maybe SBC and AT&T should have been hit for the costs of data recovery, but not much more. The vast majority of the fault was due to the writer.
    • I'm sure when the tech guy came to set up his DSL, he wasn't thinking, "Oh man, I got to make sure my files are secure." I can't imagine that anyone would have this thought first and foremost every living second. In fact, given that he was getting a DSL connection set up, he was probably - just a guess - thinking about high-speed internet, web browsing, or any of a myriad of internet-related computer functions that did not pertain at all to his scripts. Of course, in hindsight, we can easily say, "Oh, he s
      • Guh. I'm sorry. Forgot to make his post "Plain Old Text" and all my paragraphs got mushed together. >_> Here it is again, I guess:

        --

        I'm sure when the tech guy came to set up his DSL, he wasn't thinking, "Oh man, I got to make sure my files are secure." I can't imagine that anyone would have this thought first and foremost every living second. In fact, given that he was getting a DSL connection set up, he was probably - just a guess - thinking about high-speed internet, web browsing, or any of a myria
      • I'm sure when the tech guy came to set up his DSL, he wasn't thinking, "Oh man, I got to make sure my files are secure." I can't imagine that anyone would have this thought first and foremost every living second.

        A previously unpaid writer who (basis of lawsuit) thinks that he may be coming into $2.7m soon due to his writing probably does have the scripts foremost in his mind. Unless of course he was distracted at that very moment wondering where the best place would be to procure some good coke and hookers.
      • It's pretty clear from the article that the files were stored on the desktop, not "my documents." presumably for easier access. I'm pretty sure it takes a more than zero amount of tech knowledge to realize that you can put stuff there instead of the default location. I realize it's often the default location for downloaded files, but that wouldn't go in the writer's favor..

        Clearly the techie thought he was doing the guy a favor by cleaning up his desktop. Heck, I do this for my friends and family when t
    • You forget one thing. Mail it in a sealed envelope to yourself by registered letter. Do NOT open that letter. That way you have an official record of the date. If people try to steal your idea, you have a way of prooving that YOU were the first one.

      In case of a lawsuit, you get one or more notaries to open and testify what you have. It is the cheapest way to have a very enforcable copyright (that can still be copyleft).

      If the other party realy stole your idea, then it would be very hard for them to come up
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:51PM (#15681109)
    Screenplay for Panicroom with Jodie Foster was bought for $5 million but the writer had really good credibility.(i read somewhere) Very rare that this happen. Hardly any ever get a million.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0462895/ [imdb.com]

    He's working on Indiana Jones 4 by the way.

    This guy doesn't even have any history of writing.

  • Nothing adds up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zadaz ( 950521 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:57PM (#15681128)
    It seems like the correct outcome has been reached in this case (Fired the guy who deleted his stuff and paid for data recovery.)

    Everything about this guys sounds like a money grubbing loser. He had previously never made a penny on his screenplays (Or, apparently from any writing at all, ever.) and yet he claims that the lost screenplays were for "far better" movies than "Gladiator," "Schindler's List" and "Ben Hur."

    Now comes the amount... $2.7 million dollars? It's been a while since I've been a professional writer, but $2.7 mil is a stupidly outrageous amount for unknown writer with unproven properties and a small movie company. Even being generous and accounting that it's for three screen plays, $900,000 per screenplay is still stupid money.

    Also they didn't delete the guys brain. Screenplays don't really have that much text in them. They are usually around a hundred pages with a couple hundred words a page. If the writer is familiar with the characters, plot, etc, they should be able to rewrite a whole screenplay in under a week. At least good enough for a first draft. (And if I was interested enough to pay $900K for a screenplay, I'd happily wait a week or three for a screenplay.)

    Thirdly, Who the hell is Aurora Media. I can't find any information on these guys. Seems nowadays if you have the ability to produce movie scripts you pay millions of dollars for, your company should have -one- hit on Google.

    Seems that if there was actually $2.7 million worth of interest by Aurora Media then either:
    1) There should be a printed contract somewhere.
    2) (As many people pointed out) They should have a copy of the screenplays somewhere.
    3) They should be the ones suing SBC (Or perhaps the schmo.)
    • Obviously, when you pitch your work, you pitch it like it's the best thing there's ever been. You can't complain about him there - that's like a startup software complaining saying, "Buy our product, but admittedly we've only just got on the scene and are completely unproven." No. It usually is, as it should be, more like, "Buy our product! We rock! In fact, we rock more than [other products]!" As for Aurora Media, according to the article, apparently they "An American Werewolf in Paris." And while it's t
      • we shouldn't dismiss the guy ... when we, admittedly, know so very little about him, and are drawing wild conclusions about his character and ability from essentially nothing.

        You must be new here.

    • If the writer is familiar with the characters, plot, etc, they should be able to rewrite a whole screenplay in under a week.


      You obviously have never written a screenplay. Second, third, fourth draft. Whatever. 1 week is absurdly fast for any major piece of creative writing.
    • The writer of the article buggered up.

      According to IMDB, An American Werewolf in Paris had Avrora Media involved, not Aurora Media.

      www.avroramedia.com

  • "Costs" may just mean filing fees and the like, not attorney's fees.
  • Techgranny doesn't know about backups and stuff. TechGranny needs to learn. :)

    Seriously though, even though he should have had backups, its impossible to say something would make money for sure. Lots of "sure bets" lose money.

    Also, the accidental deletion did not delete his brain did it? I mean its not like his premise characters and story were deleted along with the data.

    I call BS. Peace.

  • blame someone else for your own fault and strike a deal with the Devil(lawyer) in hope to scam million .
  • I am curious. What did they do in the 1910's when there were no usable copy machines? How did a novelist back up a manuscript?
    • Re:1910? (Score:3, Informative)

      by robogun ( 466062 )
      The most common technologies were Mimeograph or carbon paper.
    • Ah, the innocence of youth.

      Ever hear of carbon paper? (Hint, the "CC" field in email is a legacy abbreviation for "carbon copy".) Carbon paper was a sheet of very thin paper coated with a slightly waxy, dark (carbon) material on one side that when placed (carbon side down) on a sheet of paper and pressed, would leave a mark where the pressure was. Now, place a regular sheet of paper on top of that, roll the whole sandwich into the platen (roller) of a typewriter (remember those?) and type away. As the
    • http://www.officemuseum.com/copy_machines.htm [officemuseum.com]

      In the 1800's letter copying presses that could make (poor) copies of letters or other documents was commonly available.

      Photographic document copiers, trademarked "Photostat" and "Rectigraph", were available in the 1910's.
  • So Boyd wasn't a computer expert when this saga started. Big deal. Most of the people I know fall into that category, and yet they still manage to get along and accomplish things in life. As I see it, ignorance in the ways of computing isn't criminal; it's profitable, at least it is for me. Over the past decade, I've made a respectable living because a large percentage of the public still sees computers as mysterious little boxes that just do things. From what I read in the article, Boyd's biggest blun

    • As someone who works in Hollywood and with screenwriters, and counts many of them as friends, I can tell you that this guy was an idiot, and he's probably not a real screenwriter (IE, he just moved to Hollywood and is just starting out).

      Every screenwriter I know- even the most tech backwards ones- are so incredibly anal about backups that it drives me mad. You'd think there'd be a reasonable limit on the amount of CDs or floppies they mail to their friends for safekeeping- some even out of the state incase
  • This reminds me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt&gmail,com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:31PM (#15681253) Homepage

    ...of the story about the guy who found a incredible way to compress his files to nothing: he deleted them.

    When he needed one, he would undelete the file he needed.

    This worked fine until his hard drive started filling more and wrote over deleted files.

    I bet this guy did something similar, thought his Recycle Bin was a place to store his files.

  • I've been writing screenplays for over ten years now and haven't lost one (although I probably should).

    My screeenwriting software backs up the last ten revisions in a folder. It has a designated "Save A Copy" button for off-loading to an external device of some sort. I burn each major revision (finished first act, finished second act, first draft, and subsequent drafts) to optical media. Since I use a Mac, I back up my Users folder once a quarter. Then, just to be on the safe side, I occasionally save a dra
    • My rule (and I'm not a screenwriter): Important data should be stored on at least 4 spindles / tapes / discs in at least two geographically distant locations.

      That means 2-3 external drives that get rotated and moved offsite to secure locations. Along with optical media archives (which is what optical media excels at) for long-term storage.

      PGP/GPG + webmail makes for a handy ad-hoc backup system as well. Encrypt the document, mail it to your GMail account. Heck, mail it to any packrat friends.
  • I don't think this guy had much of a leg to stand on, and I'm not defending the merits of his case, but before

    When someone sues for an exhorbitant amount they do so on the advice of a lawyer who knows full well that most cases are settled before they get to court (or before a verdict is reached) and that the settlement will be a fraction of the original claim. Even when the case goes to trial and the court rules in the plantiff's favor more likely than not the award will be whittled down. And then of cour
  • I shouldn't be surprised that this turnip didn't bother to back up his multimillion dollar screenplay. It seems that most people believe hard disks are infalliable, and those tiny spinning platters never suffer catastrophic failure. The guy should have opened a gmail account and emailed drafts to himself. It costs nothing, takes moments, and gives you a mindlessly simple way of archiving every edition of your work.
  • couldn't it have been the screenplay for Ultraviolet [imdb.com] that got deleted?

    Don't get me wrong, I love Milla Jovovich (see The Fifth Element [imdb.com]), but man Ultraviolet was weak.

  • I can't get over the face that he got even one red sent. This complete and utter BS.

    I don't know about you but when I have multi-million dollar digital assets I sure would not take the time to run a copy off to floppy or CD nope no way not with my busy schedule. This guy probably had jack or less then that.

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