TV or Movie “Development” and “Marketing” Fraud
Do you have an idea for a new televisions show or movie? Beware of a company claiming it can help “develop” or market your concept for sale or license to the TV networks or movie studios. Any company implying it has certain ties to the TV networks or movie studios could be a fraud. You may get scammed out of money without gaining in return any chance of actual success.
What happens if you have already paid money to a phony “idea development” and “marketing” company?
Our law firm will aggressively pursue claims for fraud, deceit and breach of contract against any company that does wrong. We offer a FREE legal consultation into your legal rights and remedies. Just call our hotline: 412.780.0008. Our lawyers are standing by to review your case.
What “red flags” do we look for?
First of all, we look at whether a company has asked for a significant amount of money (over $400) to review your concept. A reputable literary or television agent will earn his or her fee primarily from negotiating deals with studios or networks, not reviewing ideas submitted by amateurs. It is always a red flag when the company claiming a connection with studios and promoting new shows makes a slick demand for money upfront.
Secondly, we look at the promises made.
Any credibly literary agent will tell you how incredibly difficult it is to succeed in the TV industry, and perhaps even discourage you from trying to pitch your idea, unless your idea speaks for itself.
Insiders know that no one person knows how to “develop” at TV concept better than anyone else, except, of course, someone who actually produces TV shows or movies for a living and has had a string of successes. Otherwise, the company promising to “develop” your idea would develop its own ideas and be successful without you.
Hence, we are leery of anyone claiming that he can “develop” the idea of an aspiring concept builder for a new television show or movie. There is a different between agents (those who pitch ideas and negotiated deals for a living) and creative people. Chances are, any faceless company claiming it can both “develop” and “market” your idea is a scam.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
The scammer may be a total fraud by never actually intending to provide in good faith the “services” it offers, such as gathering “audience profile data,” making a trademark inquiry, or creating a portfolio concerning your idea. These may be scam services offered just to make you think that the scammer is “earning” its fee.
Next, we review the contract you were asked to sign.
A company that plans to scam you will be fairly careful to craft the agreement that you sign in a way that allows for the scammer to have an “out,” based on the express language of the contract it drafted. Hence, you must look very closely at the language of your contract and ask why particular language exists. This is where a good lawyer comes in handy.
You might, for example, see language in the agreement, saying that this contract is for a “commercial purpose” only. Why is that there? The scammer is trying to get around consumer protection laws, which protect consumers and amateur inventors and story creators from fraud and deceptive conduct. The scammer may know there is virtually no chance of commercial success from the “services“ it plans to offer (and hence this is really a scam on consumer), but the contract refers to the services as “commercial.” We challenge those clauses.
Your agreement may have language referring to the agreement itself a “trade secret” to scare you from sharing it with a lawyer, but you are always free to obtain legal advice and review any contract, before or after you signed it. Plus, if the scammer company has engaged in fraud, nothing in the contract may be enforced against you, anyway, if, for example, the scammer planned to deceive you all along and knew in advance that there was zero chance of you getting value from it services. The scammer may know in advance that you have zero chance of getting a licensor or licensee agreement via the scammer’s services, or know that the ”pitch” services offered by the scammer will have zero value.
The fraudulent company may also insert language into the contract so say that the scammer has “not evaluated” you concept in anyway (so they can charge a fee for promoting ideas that the scammer believes have zero chance of success). But wait, huh? How could the “idea developer” not evaluate your idea. That goes against the whole purpose of the agreement. How can the company “develop” or market an idea without first evaluating it? If see this language in your contract, it’s a huge red flag.
We scrutinize any agreement by a purported idea development company that operates as an individual, corporation or LLC.
What are your rights?
You may be entitled to the return or refund of your money, plus an award for punitive or treble (triple) damages plus attorney fees. You should have an attorney review this matter. Consider fighting to get you money back for the exploitation of your show concept, at the very least. Call our PA lawyers.
Where to file suit?
Your agreement may have a choice of law provision, requiring that you sue in Pennsylvania, for example. If so, great! That’s where our law firm is located and you can just call: 412.780.0008. We are experienced in handling invention scam and other fraud claims filed in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
Get a free consultation with our experienced Pittsburgh, PA attorneys:
We look forward to hearing from you!