Gerald Brittle, the author of a book on paranormal investigators, has taken a shot at Warner Bros in a copyright infringement claim focusing on film franchise “The Conjuring”.
Brittle filed the 355-page amended complaint at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Wednesday, March 29, seeking $900 million in damages and costs.
He had originally sued Warner Bros in November last year.
“The Conjuring” franchise, a series of supernatural horror films, allegedly infringed Brittle’s book “The Demonologist”, published in 1980.
“The Demonologist” tells the story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
According to the claim, the Warrens had entered into a 1978 agreement for the book.
The agreement allegedly included a “no competing work” provision that precluded the Warrens from making or contracting for any works based on the “same subject” as “The Demonologist”, including their “lives and experiences as paranormal investigators”.
When Lorraine granted Warner Bros and the other defendants, including James Wan, director of the franchise, the right to use the Warren case files, “she could not have done so”, said the claim, because “years earlier” she had “contractually granted that exclusive right to use those same Warren cases, Warren case files and related materials to the plaintiff”.
Brittle claimed that Warner Bros needed to have, but “knowingly never bothered to obtain”, his permission and support.
“It is very hard to believe that a large conglomerate such as Warner Bros with their army of lawyers and who specialises in IP rights deals would not have found ‘The Demonologist’ book or the deals related to it, or Brittle for that matter,” said the claim.
It added that the “only logical conclusion” is that the defendants knew about the book and made the “considered decision to ignore” the book and agreement under the presumption that they would “never get caught”.
Brittle is seeking a finding of wilful infringement, an order stopping Warner Bros from making any derivative works, an account of profits, punitive damages, and a jury trial.
The lawsuit has been made available by news website Deadline.