What do you do when you want to fight the complicated web of copyrights and try to change the system? Give your ideas away! Okay, so Jonathan Lethem isn't giving them away per-say, but it's close enough. The novelist, whose short story "Five F*cks" was adapted into the upcoming New York drama Tonight at Noon (starring everyone from Joan Chen to Rutger Hauer), has decided to take a different approach with his latest novel, You Don't Love Me Yet. The L.A.-based music novel is just getting released this week, and the novelist already has a specific plan for possible adaptations.

Basically, he is getting rid of the option fee and holding an open search for the director best equipped to handle the material. He's asking for only two things. First, he wants the filmmaker to pay "something" for the purchase rights, amounting to 2% of the budget -- only if the film gets a distribution deal. Second, while he will retain rights to the novel and its text, and the filmmaker will retain rights to the feature, he wants all ancillary rights to be released five years after the film's debut.

This would allow anyone to do anything with the story and characters of the novel and film, such as "a play, a television series, a comic book, a theme park ride, an opera – or even a sequel film or novel featuring the same characters." That's right, he wants to release it to the public domain almost-pronto. If you're a filmmaker and this interests you, you've got to whip up a proposal detailing, in Lethem's words: "what kind of work you've done before, and how you'd expect to handle this project both creatively and financially." The novelist hopes to pick a lucky filmmaker on May 15. Will this pay off? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it's a ballsy move.

[via Variety]
categories Movies, Cinematical