Back in February of 2016, we were contacted by someone who asked to remain anonymous and claimed they were related to a key member involved in “Terminator 6” discussions. This insider claimed to have news to share about James Cameron rentering the creative fold with Skydance to work on a new Terminator film. Then, as T6 news broke almost a year later, it turned out our contact indeed was correct in regards to Cameron’s return. But that wasn’t the only thing this scooper was correct about.
During that revealing conversation, we also raised the issue of copyright law, and asked why James Cameron is working with Skydance now when he just was going to reacquire the Terminator rights later, in just a few more years. Here is that excerpt from that article:
When we inquired why wouldn’t Cameron just wait until the reported copyrights revert back to him in 2019 (so he could reap more of the financial benefits), it was explained to us that the beneficiary changes only impacted North American rights and is more complicated than it seems.
Fast forward to today, The Hollywood Reporter has just released an article covering copyright law struggles in Hollywood. The publication details how movie studios are fighting hard to hold on to properties and keep them away from their original authors (who now want their properties back.)
You see, 35 years after a script is written and sold to a film studio to make a movie, the author of that fiction can serve a notice of termination to that studio, to claim back their rights to that fictional property. But now with the ever growing popularity in movie reboots, these old film properties are becoming more & more valuable than ever before, so much so that film studios are finding loopholes and foreign contractual obligations to cancel these author’s copyright claims. Whether it is for “Friday the 13th” ownership, or soon to involve the “Predator” franchise, some of these ongoing copyright battles are really becoming fierce between the original creators and their current rights holder.
So will there be a fierce battle between current Terminator rights holder Skydance and the original creator James Cameron? Hopefully not. “The Hollywood Reporter” indicates that talks are occurring between both parties:
THR: “Sources close to Cameron refuse to discuss what’s happening, citing ongoing negotiations.”
So will James Cameron end up the sole copyright owner of Terminator, or will it end up as as shared ownership with David Ellison’s Skydance? Either way, “ongoing negotiations” can only be a good thing. It means they’re talking. And anything that keeps James Cameron and Skydance from battling in a courtroom over the rights to Terminator is great news for fans.
Ellison’s and Cameron’s apparent friendship, mutual respect and willingness to work together means that Terminator fans will be the true winners at the end of the day, regardless of who owns the copyright.
We’ll be back.