Aspiring writer spends six hours debating whether to sign release form

Also contemplates preemptively suing prodco for stealing premise

New Jersey scribe Allan Markum recently took the day off work to focus on “one of the biggest career decisions of his life.” Specifically, he was trying to decide whether he should sign Benderspink’s release form.

“I wasn’t comfortable with eleven aspects of the deal,” said Markum, referring to the 1-page, industry-standard release. “It’s like the whole document is geared toward protecting Benderspink. What about my rights? How do I know they won’t just steal my script, cast a bunch of big-name actors in it, turn it into a $400 million blockbuster…and then leave me out of the profits entirely?”

Chief among Markum’s concerns was the clause indemnifying Benderspink should they happen to already be developing a concept similar to his submission.

“See, now I’m thinking they’ve already seen my query,” he said. “They probably sent me this ‘special form’ to trick me into signing away the rights for my totally original love potion comedy. I talked to my cousin, a divorce lawyer in Philadelphia, and he said I could probably sue them right now.”

For now, Markum plans to simply keep a close eye on Benderspink – and every single project they develop or produce over the next decade.

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1 Comment

Filed under Industry News, Writers

One response to “Aspiring writer spends six hours debating whether to sign release form

  1. Two Sides...

    The other side to the story is that companies who take blind submissions (who are they anyway?)don’t want to get sued if they genuinely develop something similar. That is why most production companies refuse to take submissions at all. From the company’s perspective, it is not worth the risk and given that someone sues on almost every movie made claiming some link between their screenplay and the studio that makes it (but my cousin was neighbors with the agent at the agency who sold Warner Bros. the script). Finally, if a company made a business out of stealing ideas and it was easily proven on a forum like this again and again, that company wouldn’t be in business very long. So Bender-Spink would have a lot of people claiming their ideas were stolen over the years in taking submissions.

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