So Universal Studios, which is working on the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, sued porn producer Smash Pictures, the maker of Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation for stepping on their copyright. Now Smash Pictures has filed a very interesting countersuit:
According to the adult film company, Universal has asserted invalid and unenforceable copyrights on the books of EL James, whose real name is Erika Leonard Mitchell. What's more, the defendant says that the property that Universal paid $5 million to turn into a film adaptation is in the public domain.
"On information and belief, as much as 89% of the content of the allegedly copyrighted materials grew out of a multi-part series of fan fiction called Masters of the Universe based on Stephenie Myer's (sic) Twilight novels. On information and belief, this content was published online between 2009 and 2011 in various venues, including fanfiction.net and the person website of Ericka Leonard. On information and belief, much or all of this material was placed in the public domain."
It's very likely this suit will go nowhere, but if it did go to court, it could have very real consequences for fan fiction, which many publishers and authors outright loathe.