Stephen Silverman Files Lawsuit Against Bold Films for Alleged Copyright Infringement on Oscar-Nominated Film

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The Law Offices of Stephen Silverman, PLC, has filed a lawsuit against Bold Films for alleged copyright infringement on behalf of Utah filmmaker Richard Dutcher. According to the lawsuit, the Bold Films work Nightcrawler is an infringement on Dutcher's copyrighted work Falling.

To ensure that we were correct in calling it a copyright infringement of my client's motion picture, I asked a retired theater professor and playwright Eric Samuelsen to review the two movies.

Attorney Stephen Silverman of the Law Offices of Stephen Silverman, PLC, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Utah filmmaker Richard Dutcher. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, February 19 in the United States Court for the District of Utah, Northern Division. case number: 2:15-cv-00220-DAK, alleges that Nightcrawler, an Oscar nominated film, is an infringement on Mr. Dutcher's copyright for his own film Falling.

Mr. Dutcher's film Falling was released in 2007 through a limited release which was received well by critics. Mr. Dutcher holds all copyright to the film held, with registration through the United States Copyright Office. He had plans for an upcoming blu-ray and DVD release of his film.

When Mr. Dutcher attended a showing of Nightcrawler, a movie released by Bold Films, he claims he believed that the movie violated his copyright. He contacted Stephen Silverman, and Silverman sent Bold Films a cease and desist letter on his behalf, which was allegedly ignored based on the filing.

Falling tells the story of a freelance news videographer who follows police radio to film crimes and accidents. The crucial turning point of the film, according to court documents, occurs when the main character films a murder and does not assist the dying man.

Nightcrawler tells the story of a man who follows police scanner information to film accidents and crimes with a goal of turning it into a freelance business. The Nightcrawler freelancer reaches his crucial turning point after filming the aftermath of a murder, without assisting the victim.

Both movies take place in Los Angeles. In both films, the men appear to drive down similar streets and perform similar actions. Both films also include footage of the same Mormon temple. The main pace and events of both films seem similar.

"While Nightcrawler is not a blatant copy," says Mr. Silverman, "the similarities are uncanny. To ensure that we were correct in calling it a copyright infringement of my client's motion picture, I asked a retired theater professor and playwright Eric Samuelsen to review the two movies. He reached the conclusion that Nightcrawler was not an original work and rather was a derivative of Falling."

According to the court documents, Samuelsen concluded that the only true differences between the two movies were the way in which they are told, as Nightcrawler is presented as a satirical comedy with Falling presented as a tragedy, however he states that the central elements are identical.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction that will stop the copying, public display or distribution of Nightcrawler, as well as monetary damages for the alleged copyright infringement for Mr. Dutcher.

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