This article tells us how 16 different companies are bidding over the screen rights to a N.Y. Times kidnapping revenge article.
What I don't understand is what kind of rights they are trying to get. Surely anybody can write their own story about a lady who is running a private investigation in order to get her daughter's kidnappers in jail. Are they paying for the right to put in the caption "based on a true story by N.Y. Times"? Or is it to use the actual person's name (and in that case, why is N.Y. Times receiving the money)? I would assume they want to keep parts of the plot, but again, why is N.Y. Times receiving the money for something they didn't invent?
Or do they plan to actually use the article's text verbatim in the movie? In my experience, movies based on a true story nevertheless deviate quite significantly from the hard facts, so I find that hard to believe.