Copyright law failed me in Groundhog Day case | Letters

The heartbreak is not that I didn’t get money but that I didn’t get credit after the 1993 film used the same idea as my 1981 novel One Fine Day, writes Leon ArdenRe your article on cases of plagiarism in Hollywood (Haven’t we seen it all before?, G2, 23 February), Groundhog Day didn’t rip off my screenplay but my 1981 novel One Fine Day. And in dismissing my complaint Judge Chin, in Arden v Columbia Pictures (7 December 1995), said: “I appreciate [Mr Arden’s] frustration at seeing his idea of a man trapped in a repeating day used without his consent, in a movie that grossed more than $70 million, not one cent of which he has received. Again, however, ideas are not copyrightable…”

The heartbreak is not that I didn’t get money but that I didn’t get credit. The problem is that copyright laws are not yet sophisticated enough to differentiate between a sort of adoration and a rip-off.

Leon Arden

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