Judge Denies Director’s Bid to Seize and Destroy ‘The Professor and the Madman’

Judge Denies Director’s Bid to Seize and Destroy ‘The Professor and the Madman’
A judge on Friday denied director Farhad Safinia’s request to seize and destroy a producer’s cut of “The Professor and the Madman,” the Mel Gibson film about the Oxford English Dictionary.

Safinia says he was thrown off the film after Voltage Pictures refused his request to shoot five additional days at Oxford University. He filed a lawsuit accusing Voltage of defamation and copyright infringement, and asked for a restraining order to block Voltage from shopping the film to distributors.

But in her ruling Friday, Judge Consuelo Marshall rejected the request, saying Safinia had not demonstrated a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the dispute. Safinia claims that he owns the copyright to the September 2016 version of the screenplay, and that he never subsequently assigned the rights to Voltage.

Voltage counters that Safinia had already given up his copyright to earlier drafts of the film’s screenplay under a “work made for hire” agreement, and
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