James Cameron Turns Over ‘Avatar’ Drafts In Copyright Battle

Did James Cameron steal the idea for his blockbuster 3D adventure Avatar?

Though a handful of lawsuits have already failed with their claim of copyright infringement, some are still searching for the smoking gun. The director has been ordered by the courts to hand over his drafts for the screenplay of the film to a former employee who is claiming plagiarism, reports MSN.

Eric Ryder used to work for Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment Inc. production company. He filed suit against the Oscar-winning director in 2011, saying that Avatar was based on a script he had written for a film called K.R.Z. 2068.

Ryder wants compensation, of course, and is claiming that Cameron used his ideas without permission and without giving him due credit. The director, for his part, says that he wrote Avatar five years before Ryder pitched his version to the production company.

The fight went back to court in California this week, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alan Rosenfield ordered Cameron to turn over the draft screenplays he wrote for his mega-successful fantasy sci-fi film, reports StarPulse. The accusers were also given access to back-up discs from computers used by Cameron, but the judge turned down a request to see screenplays for the upcoming Avatar sequels.

Ryder wants a portion of the profits for the film, which grossed more than $2 billion at the global box office since 2009.

In September 2012, Cameron won one of the bigger copyright infringement lawsuits leveled against him. Novelist and screenwriter Elijah Schkeiban claimed that Cameron lifted key plot points from his own Bats and Butteflies screenplay, but the judge ruled that Schkeiban couldn’t lay claim over plot elements and tropes.

Do you think that James Cameron stole Avatar?