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Old 03-19-2012, 04:15 PM   #1
Dr. Gonzo
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When George Lucas dies who will own Indiana Jones?

Maybe this question has an obvious answer but in thinking "who will own the rights to Indiana Jones after Lucas passes on?" I came upon several different scenarios...

A. Lucasfilm will retain the rights after Lucas' death and an unknown will have control.

B. Spielberg will take the reigns.

C. Paramount will be the entity in control of the franchise.

D. Is it possible since Raiders is based on a story by Lucas and Philip Kaufman that Kaufman will get his say?

E. One of Lucas' (adopted) children?

I ask these questions because usually in the US the studio owns the property, but I think Lucas or "Lucasfilm" is in charge. But it was really created by Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan. I know for a fact Kasdan is not in contention. I'm not really a legal buff.

So what do you all think? Who will legally own Indiana Jones after Lucas "becomes one with the force"?

Last edited by Dr. Gonzo : 03-19-2012 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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it is a Lucasfilm property, and Paramount ony distributes, much like 20th century fox, does for the star wars films.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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I guess what my real follow up question is then is who becomes the chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm? Just some guy? Does one of his kids get promoted? Who gets the say so?
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #4
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Knowing how truly stubborn and eccentric George Lucas is towards his creations, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he had some legal instrument that dictates the destruction* of every reel of film he has the rights to upon his demise, along with explicit instructions to never release them again, on any format, or in any theater, ever again. He's gonna try to take it all with him, and be buried with his rotting middle finger protruding skyward from his grave.

*well, maybe not destroyed. Maybe launched into space.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:10 AM   #5
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Where's the 'Disney will buy out and own Lucasfilm" option?

I think that one's inevitable even if Spielberg got the rights beforehand. Coz after Spielberg's gone, that will probably happen next.

I've always been of the mind, that Indy (and SW) were more Lucasfilm properties than they are the studios (however it could be that I am confusing merchandising and ancillary rights with the intellectual property and copyright of the films themselves). I guess this would be all in the wording of the original contract, (or revised version, considering five Raiders movies were never delivered).

In any case, what does Spielberg have in terms of legal rights over the series right now? Other than his directing pay and percentage from the merch and ancillaries.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:20 AM   #6
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Opening a law book would most likely answer most of these questions.

While there might be some differences depending on country, state and region, generally the following three principles apply to all intellectual property in the western world:

1. IP, unlike physical property, is not transferable by a simple will.
2. If the holder of rights is a natural person, the benefactors would be those who are considered his legal descendants by default.
3. If the holder of rights is an organization, nothing changes in case a key person from said organization passes on. It will retain the rights as if nothing happened.

Pointer #1 dictates that Lucas can't just state that in the case of his death that whatever IP there is in his name solely will go to a random person, say Bob Johnson from Adelaide simply because he decided so. He can't state that "I want all copies burned" either. Well, unless there are some crafty loopholes in law, that is. And realizing those would likely take years in court with a very little chance of actually winning.

Of course, to answer the question thoroughly, we'd have to know who owns the rights to what. I don't think there's any single entity who owns ALL the rights to whatever is related to the IP that is Indiana Jones. They're probably out there somewhere in the books, but I'm not sticking myself into that quagmire just for this purpose.

Anyway, in case there are rights that Lucas holds himself, the benefactors in the case of his death would indeed be his children. It doesn't matter if they're biological or adopted, as long as the process of adoption is considered legal.

If the holder of rights is a company such as LucasFilm, then LucasFilm will retain the rights at least for as long as its Board doesn't decide to sell 'em someplace else, be it a company or a natural person. Though this is something not dependent on Lucas' death, may as well happen even when he is still alive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
I guess what my real follow up question is then is who becomes the chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm?
Answering THIS one is relatively simple. It's whoever the company board of directors will pick to the role. Might be someone from within the company or a complete outsider, as long as they consider him or her competent for the duties. Bob Johnson from Adelaide is suddenly back in contention.

Of course, this is something that can also happen while Lucas himself still exists in full body & mind. He can simply step down and retire. From a legal standpoint it still doesn't mean anything to those parts of Indy's IP that is owned by LucasFilm. Nor to those parts that are possibly owned by the man himself, unless he hands them over to the company.


So, the bottom line is that any of A to E can and will happen depending on who owns what. A is of course the most likely, with the exception that the one who has control is not an unknown, as it is the company. As it is now.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:25 PM   #7
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Very interesting answers. Did you ever study law Finn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finn

Of course, to answer the question thoroughly, we'd have to know who owns the rights to what. I don't think there's any single entity who owns ALL the rights to whatever is related to the IP that is Indiana Jones. They're probably out there somewhere in the books, but I'm not sticking myself into that quagmire just for this purpose.


I guess what I would be interested in is who would control the rights to the creative future of the existing films and (if there were any) subsequent "releases" if they did so choose. Like if some one (god forbidding) said, "George is dead, let's do a reboot." Who would be the person to give that the or the ?
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Lucasfilm owns the rights -- and Lucasfilm is 100% family owned. It is not a publicly traded company.

So the correct question to ask is "What happens to Lucasfilm in the event of George retiring (or passing)?"

I know several LFL employees that have been asking that question for over a decade now.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet
Where's the 'Disney will buy out and own Lucasfilm" option?

I think that one's inevitable even if Spielberg got the rights beforehand. Coz after Spielberg's gone, that will probably happen next.

I've always been of the mind, that Indy (and SW) were more Lucasfilm properties than they are the studios (however it could be that I am confusing merchandising and ancillary rights with the intellectual property and copyright of the films themselves). I guess this would be all in the wording of the original contract, (or revised version, considering five Raiders movies were never delivered).

In any case, what does Spielberg have in terms of legal rights over the series right now? Other than his directing pay and percentage from the merch and ancillaries.

I'm really surprised people here wonder. I always thought it was pretty clear the character / franchise is owned by Lucasfilm.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:05 AM   #10
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I read once in a magazine that Lucas on his will he clearly states that his Star Wars films will remain untouched and no continuation will ever take place on film. He never mentioned if similar restrictions will affect other of his properties, like Indy.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet
In any case, what does Spielberg have in terms of legal rights over the series right now? Other than his directing pay and percentage from the merch and ancillaries.

I mistakenly thought that Spielberg became a producer on Crystal Skull. One of the documentaries mentioned something like that but it wasn't the case. That's why... I'm mistaken.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
Very interesting answers. Did you ever study law Finn?
Information science. Being a subject that deals with maintaining and transfering information, it does require extensive knowledge of copyrights and other issues that deal with intellectual property.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakis
I read once in a magazine that Lucas on his will he clearly states that his Star Wars films will remain untouched and no continuation will ever take place on film. He never mentioned if similar restrictions will affect other of his properties, like Indy.
Sounds almost like LucasFilm might become sort of a mausoleum firm, run solely from some lawyer's file cabinet with the sole purpose of maintaining the non-continuation of Star Wars franchise.

But if the rest of the licenses are up for grabs, I guess the correct answer to "Who can make more Indy once George is dead?" is "Anybody with enough moolah." Make the Lucas kids an offer they can't refuse and hey, Indy is yours.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:58 PM   #13
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Interesting thread...

I never gave much thought concerning the rights to Indy once Lucas would one-day pass-on because I always assumed that the next of kin would naturally be awarded ownership. However, this thread has been a fascinating one and I never knew that the finer points of law concerning property ownership of film could be so complicated. So complicated, in fact, that it sounds to me like there may be a few catch-22 loopholes. Might there be a precidence for a legal war between the various parties over control? I'd certainly hate to see the franchise ripped apart in such an ugly way.
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:24 AM   #14
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George will never die.

He has Spaarti cloning cylinders installed on sub-level nine at Skywalker Ranch, just below the bicycle parking area.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:20 AM   #15
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Montana Smith, you have my vote for most clever comment on The Raven ever! I was afraid I was in for another lousy morning, but I'll be smiling about your comment for the next few days. Thank-you!
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:37 PM   #16
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I think this is precisely what he is thinking about right now in terms of the future of his career. That includes what happens to his properties if and when he retires and after he has died.

I think the obvious answer is that Lucas is a man who likes to control his properties himself and doesn't trust studios or Hollywood. He is also a man who cherishes his children. It is therefore a very likely conclusion that when he dies he will leave the reigns to LucasFilm to his children. LucasFilm will continue to strike merchandising deals on properties like Star Wars. It's likely that video games and such will still be made according most likely to a strict set of "extended universe" guidelines. But no films. THX, Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light & Magic will continue to do their things.

But I don't see any future creative ventures out of LucasFilm and I think we will see a much more limited run of Star Wars and or Indiana Jones spin-offs like the tv series and what not.

If his kids plan to sell out the rights to some other company then it could continue on, but if George requests that no one else can make any future Star Wars films his kids will likely want to honor his wishes and keep that out of the hands of some movie studio/corporation/whatever.

So in a way, I think a lot of it would die with him because he doesn't trust that his vision won't be "tainted" by outside sources. I think that whole thing about that guy who wants to make a Boba Fett movie is giving Lucas pause as to whether or not he should really limit it like that and not let it live on through other people who obviously are passionate about it.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:18 PM   #17
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Thanks to Indy's Brother we have a partial answer now.
(from Kennedy thread)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy's brother

Kathleen has been named co-chair of Lucasfilm.

I guess George is starting to think about his mortality.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
Thanks to Indy's Brother we have a partial answer now.
(from Kennedy thread)

Kathleen has been named co-chair of Lucasfilm.

I guess George is starting to think about his mortality.


Or he just likes flattery (from the Kathleen Kennedy thread)

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Old 10-31-2012, 12:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet
Where's the 'Disney will buy out and own Lucasfilm" option?

You were right... tell your sister... you were... right.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:18 AM   #20
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Violet got the $64 question right!
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickiana
Violet got the $64 question right!

Indeed! *tata*

Quote:
When George Lucas dies who will own Indiana Jones?

Steve Jobs' widow.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:12 AM   #22
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All I have to say, boys..... I told you so. Sure the man ain't dead, but you could say in film industry terms anyway, he is (as in retired).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickiana
Violet got the $64 question right!

Don't ya mean the 4 billion dollar question?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
You were right... tell your sister... you were... right.

The irony being I am half a world away, not in the biz (as much as I'd love to be and I happen to work next door to studios) and I don't even read Variety, dude. If anyone had any doubt now that I know my stuff when it comes to this, then I don't know what I have to do to convince otherwise!
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet
All I have to say, boys..... I told you so. Sure the man ain't dead, but you could say in film industry terms anyway, he is (as in retired).

Don't ya mean the 4 billion dollar question?

The irony being I am half a world away, not in the biz (as much as I'd love to be and I happen to work next door to studios) and I don't even read Variety, dude. If anyone had any doubt now that I know my stuff when it comes to this, then I don't know what I have to do to convince otherwise!
Myself & Junior_Jones predicted the acquistion 12 months before you, my dear. Remember you WERE participating in this thread when we discussed it:

Indiana Jones and the Disney Connection

Don't mean to steal your thunder, Violet, but you'll have to hand the prize money over to us!
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Don't mean to steal your thunder, Violet, but you'll have to hand the prize money over to us!

Hold your horses, Stewie. The competition isn't over until the swimsuit section. I'm not saying you don't look good in a bikini, but I'm still betting on Auntie Violet.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:30 PM   #25
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I won't argue that Mme. Violet looks better in a bikini. However, here are the posts from just over a year before Gonzo started this very thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior Jones (07 Mar 2011)
That being said however, there is one disparity that's specific to Star Tours and Indiana Jones. Disney hasn't "acquired" LucasFilm (yet).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me (09 Mar 2011)
I honestly hope that never happens but who knows what lies in store after George Lucas passes away. (Knock on wood.)
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Disney tried to absorb his empire in 30 years time.
We WIN! Now, where's that prize money?
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