The court battle between two Australian movie-makers over the US$300 million gross from a best-selling motivational film and book is now in the US courts.
Rhonda Byrne (pictured), the creator of The Secret, which became an internet phenomenon, is being sued by the director, Drew Heriot, who claims Byrne should have shared credit for developing the project. The legal battle over copyright started in Australia, but is now being contested in a Chicago court.
Heriot claims to have written much of the screenplay for the 2006 film as well conducting most of the interviews and supervising editing and post-production. He also claims to have had a big part in writing the best-selling book.
For Heriot to win, he has to prove to the court that for the purposes of The Secret project, he was a co-contributor, not an employee. If an employee, he has no claim to copyright since copyright created by employees is automatically owned by the boss.
His chances don’t look good – he appears to have been an employee of Byrne’s company, Prime Time, for other projects.