Conjuring Copyright Protection and Adjudicating Apparitions: Should the Law Consider Ghost Stories Historical Facts?

Picture1By Daniel Hagen

If Warner Bros. fails to prove the existence of ghosts and demons in court, it may have to pay out nearly one billion dollars. Or, at least that’s how the entertainment media has positioned a lawsuit that is currently pending in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Brittle v. Time Warner involves a copyright dispute over the popular 2013 film The Conjuring, as well as its sequels and spin-offs. The film series follows the adventures of two alleged paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigate hauntings, demon possessions, witchcraft, and satanic rituals. During their adventures, they confront evil spirits and demons using a variety of methods, including séances and exorcisms. The outcome of the case may depend to some degree on whether the events portrayed in the film are properly characterized as “historical facts.” Continue reading