Citing Clichés, Judge Boots 'Nightcrawler' Copyright Case

Law360 (August 20, 2019, 4:05 PM EDT) -- Phrases like "if it bleeds, it leads" are commonplace in stringer films, a Utah federal judge ruled Monday, tossing a copyright suit alleging the 2014 Jake Gyllenhaal film "Nightcrawler" copied a lesser-known 2007 film called "Falling."

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said Bold Films and NBCUniversal Media LLC's "Nightcrawler" and independent filmmaker Richard Dutcher's "Falling" were both about Los Angeles-based freelance news videographers, or stringers, who search for and obtain increasingly violent footage, but that the similarities between the two movies weren't covered by copyright law.

In addition to "cliché journalism phrases," the similarities in characters and plot sequences are not...

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