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Can Hollywood steal your story?

We hear stories about Hollywood studios stealing the stories of authors and not paying.  Could it really happen?

Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen thinks it happened to her, and has filed suit.  Gerritsen is the author of the very popular Rizzoli and Iles books about a Boston police detective and the medical examiner.  The books have spun off the TV show Rizolli and Isles on TNT.

While Gerritsen is most famous for those books, she began writing romances, then moved along to thrillers based on science and medicine.  Gerritsen is a medical doctor who gave up her practice to write.

In the late 90s, Gerritsen wrote a book title “Gravity.”  It was published in 1999 by Pocket Books in hardcover and a year later in paperback.  She sold film rights to the story and worked to develop it, including writing additional scenes.  In her story, the International Space Station was struck by debris and most of the crew was killed.  A lone female astronaut/doctor survived and fought to live.

That’s very much like the movie released earlier this year, also titled “Gravity.”

Gerritsen says she’s learned that at least one person who worked on development of her book into a movie worked on developing the current movie.  She’s filed suit.

Here’s her statement with a link to her lawsuit.

Could it happen to you?  Tess thinks it’s possible.