James Cameron is being sued yet again over Avatar. This makes … shoot, we lost count of all these lawsuits.
The newest lawsuit is from Roger Dean, who claims that Cameron copied his ideas for the 2009 3D blockbuster, which still comfortably sits atop the highest-grossing films of all time list. Dean designed album covers for bands including Yes and Asia, and has accused Cameron of “wilful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation” of his work, further claiming that the director “studied and referenced his art in preparation for the film.”
He filed at a court in New York and is asking for $50 million.
“The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre,” the complaint continues, though it doesn’t specify what Cameron specifically copied.
Avatar has been the subject of numerous copyright lawsuits since it came out four years ago, but most have failed dismally in court. The lawsuits up until this point have primarily been over plot and character similarities between the film and undeveloped screenplays written by science fiction writers and former employees of Cameron.
They generally tend to fail because you can’t really copyright plot devices and the like.
However, Cameron has been unsuccessfully sued for the visual aspects of the film as well. In Feburary, a judge threw out a suit from artist Gerald Morawski who claimed that his paintings inspired the look of the film.
Cameron said of his victory over Morawski, “It is a sad reality of our business that whenever there is a successful film, people come out of the woodwork claiming that their ideas were used. Avatar was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. I am grateful that the court saw through the blatant falsity of Mr. Morawski’s claim.”
Do you think that James Cameron ripped off Avatar?