is a Compare/Contrast chart for the debate on Ethics and Lack of Originality
This is from a short called "Pass The Salt", shot as both a Public Serviece Announcement for the "Not-For Profit" Columbus Filmmakers Consortium in May of 2001 and also edited as a stand alone short for 7M Pictures, with whom the writer/director/producer/editor co-founded.
On the set was Kelly Carr, Glen Litlejohn, John W. Mader, Chris Alexis, and Kevin Carr.
In December of 2001, The writer/director/editor/producer of Pass the Salt resigned from 7M Pictures.
Throughout all of 2002, several threats of lawsuits and claims of copyright infringement on the ownership rights of "Pass the Salt" were made.
After that, director/writer Kevin Carr and V.P. of Legal Affairs Glen Littlejohn create the short called "Morbid Obesity" and release it on their website.
Admittedly, the content of their piece is completely different, but conceptually, this bares uncanny resemblance to the original piece Pass the Salt.
Due to the contractual constraints, the writer/director/producer/editor reshot his movie, but this time with the help of the Second City Theater mainstage cast members. The new version featured newly improved 3D graphics, and improvised dialogue.
Even though the concept is now devalued by the retread, this new, vastly improved version has garnered awards, has screenings internationally, and is soon to be broadcast on a short film network.
Is what 7M Pictures CEO and VP of Legal Affairs legal? Yes. They did not break any laws.
Is it ethical? That's debatable.
Is it indicative that there is a total lack of creativity and talent? Yes, I think that's obvious.
Is there anything a filmmaker can do to protect themselves? Nope. You cannot copyright an "idea" or a "concept" *
What did we learn from this? Filmmakers without original ideas need to get an attorney, preferrably a free one that aspires to be an actor. An attorney will come up with the most creative ways to bend the law without breaking it.
* but it is good to note that even after being remade, the idea can be so successful, even the 3rd time around. I guess audiences like thier entertainment to be good.
Doubt the integrity of the Boo? Read the unaltered emails