Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses Famous Author’s Dollar Babies

Stephen King, Naperville business lawyerOver the last few years, there has been an impressive resurgence of interest in television and film adaptations of the works of Stephen King. To call King simply a horror writer does not do the man justice, as his books and short stories are just as often examinations of the human experience rather than scary ghost stories or tales of grisly murders. Since the commercial success of his first published book Carrie in 1974, King has made millions of dollars in not only book deals but in selling the rights to his stories to filmmakers and television production studios.

As a business law attorney, however, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that King also takes a keen interest in helping aspiring writers and filmmakers. In fact, he has even created a program through which film students can legally adapt his short stories for non-commercial purposes. He refers to the available stories as his “Dollar Babies” because all he asks in return for the adaptation rights is one dollar and a copy of the finished product.

A Recent Dollar Baby Makes News

King’s Dollar Baby program was recently in the news as a group of high school-aged students in Wales secured the rights to the short story Stationary Bike from the collection Just After Sunset, originally published in 2003. According to reports, the story is being converted to a script by two teens at the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in the United Kingdom, and about 30 students are expected to work on the film. The students are excited about the idea of working on a Stephen King project, and school officials are hopeful that the young filmmakers can use the projects as a “stepping stone to further their careers.”

From Dollar Baby to Hollywood Success

The students and school officials only need to look as far as a director named Frank Darabont to find an example of a Dollar Baby filmmaker who made it big. In 1983—before the program was well known—Darabont used the Dollar Baby program to secure the rights to The Woman in the Room from the collection Night Shift. King liked Darabont’s adaptation enough to allow the short film to be distributed commercially. A few years later, Darabont adapted another King short story—the rights cost more than a dollar this time—into the Oscar-nominated film The Shawshank Redemption. Darabont and King would collaborate on two more blockbusters: The Green Mile in 1999 and The Mist in 2007. Following his work with King, Darabont went on to develop the popular and critically-acclaimed television series The Walking Dead in 2010.

Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights

While you may not have filmmakers fighting over the rights to your intellectual property, it is still important to make sure your works are properly protected. To learn more about copyright protections and related considerations, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.




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Stephen King’s Dollar Babies