James Cameron and 20th Century Fox are facing their fourth lawsuit in the past year over the 2009 film “Avatar,” according to the entertainment news website Deadline.com. Fantasy landscape artist William Roger Dean filed a complaint alleging copyright infringement, contributory infringement, breach of implied contact, unfair competition and unjust enrichment against Cameron and Fox on June 27. He is seeking over $50 million in damages.
Dean has created album covers for such bands as Yes and Asia, and Deadline reported that “the ubiquity of his work, as well as a movie proposal based on it that he took to the 2005 Cannes Film Fest” convinced Dean that numerous elements of the planet of Pandora in the 2009 3D sci-fi film were derived from his images. “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 states. “The infringing portions of Avatar are so similar to Plaintiffs Works that Defendants and others employed in the preparation of the film must have had access to the Plaintiffs Works.”
As Deadline noted, a federal judge allowed screenwriter Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit jury trial-requested lawsuit against Cameron, Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment to go forward. Less than two months before that, a judge granted Cameron’s request for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by Gerald Morawski, who claimed that he pitched an environmental themed concept nearly two decades earlier and sued the director for breach of contract and other claims. In September 2012, a federal judge ruled that Elijah Schkeiban’s “Bats and Butterflies” was “not substantially similar” to the highest-grossing movie of all time in dismissing the screenwriter’s copyright infringement lawsuit.
Los Angeles business litigation lawyer Robert G. Klein has more than a quarter-century of experience representing clients in complex intellectual property issues, and you can use the form on this page or contact our firm at (323) 653-3900 to have our Los Angeles copyright infringement lawyer review your case.
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