The estate of author Philip K. Dick is throwing in the towel. It’s decided to drop the suit against the producers of the 2011 film The Adjustment Bureau.
Last fall, Media Rights Capital and director George Nolfi were sued by Dick’s estate when they refused to pay royalties. The estate claimed that in 2001, Nolfi agreed to make “substantial payments” to adapt material from Dick’s story “The Adjustment Team.” But when he finally made the film (in 2011), he didn’t pay the piper.
Apparently, Nolfi and his producers discovered that “The Adjustment Team” was in public domain, which means—no payment necessary. The estate argued that the story was originally published in 1955, while MRC and Nolfi say it premiered in a 1954 edition of Orbit Science Fiction.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
The difference between publication in 1954 and publication in 1955 is huge because it would mean that under federal law, the story fell into public domain before the Dick estate filed for a copyright renewal in 1983. (He died in 1982.)
After a judge threw out key parts of the case, Dick’s estate agreed to drop the suit. Today, dismissal papers were filed at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Justin Goldstein and Jay Handlin of the firm Carlsmith Ball represented the trust and released the following statement:
“The judge’s ruling and our decision to dismiss the remaining portions of the federal case had nothing to do with the merits of any of the claims. The Judge only concluded that state court is the appropriate venue for the dispute.”
Hmm, all of a sudden we feel like watching Matt Damon and Emily Blunt dodge Terence Stamp. Don’t you?