Bay Area Novelist Sues Sony Pictures

This particular copyright infringement matter begins by the Bay in the late 1990s. After publishing suspense novel The Ultimate Rush, Oakland-based author Joe Quirk optioned the book to Warner Bros. and signed with powerhouse Hollywood agency CAA.

Then, last summer, many years after Quirk had given up hope of the project being adapted for the screen, his former literary agent ran into a New York City location shoot for Premium Rush, a Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sony Pictures drama written and directed by David Koepp. Quirk managed to obtain a copy of the script and after comparing notes, tells the Bay Citizen that he was turned down by four dozen lawyers before finally finding someone willing to take on his case. Here’s why:

“In the last 15 to 20 years, there have been virtually no success stories when it comes to plaintiffs suing major studios for copyright infringement,” said Aaron Moss, a Los Angeles intellectual-property lawyer who has represented writers in the past, but hasn’t taken such a case in a decade because of the slim chances of success.

Another intellectual-property lawyer in Los Angeles, John Marder, agreed with Mr. Moss, saying, “The courts have made it very onerous” to win a copyright case.

In the Koepp movie, scheduled for January 2012, a New York City bike courier is chased by a cop. In Quirk’s novel, a rollerblading San Francisco delivery guy is targeted by the Chinese mafia.