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James Cameron sued by British artist over 'Avatar'

WENN

Director James Cameron has been hit with a $50 million lawsuit from a British artist over his movie "Avatar."

Search: What's up with the 'Avatar' sequel?

Roger Dean has filed legal action at a court in New York, alleging Cameron copied his ideas for the 3D blockbuster, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

Dean, who has designed album covers for bands including Yes and Asia, accused Cameron of "wilful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation" of his imagery and claims the Oscar winner "studied and referenced his art in preparation for the film."

His complaint states, "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."

It is the latest legal hurdle for Cameron, who has been plagued by a slew of similar allegations since Avatar's premiere in 2009 - in December, 2011, he was hit with a $2.5 billion copyright lawsuit by a sci-fi screenwriter, while another plaintiff also filed copyright infringement papers against the moviemaker.

In February, a U.S. judge threw out a copyright lawsuit from artist Gerald Morawski, who claimed his paintings inspired the $2.78 billion-grossing movie.

After the victory, Cameron insisted, "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."

79Comments
Jun 30, 2013 11:38AM
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Hardly ever is there any mention of Poul Anderson's 1957 story 'Call Me Joe'. There are some very similar aspects of Avatar and 'Call Me Joe'. A paraplegic connected to a false body through a machine that eventually transfers himself to the new fully functional body. This story probably has more basis for the movie, and probably pre-dates most of the other claims, than most of the others. Cameron is old enough that he probably read the story or someone related it to him when he was younger and he is using those memories. I guess once a story or idea gets old it becomes less recognized or is hopefully forgotten. The original story is not that long and considering the time period it was written it still is an interesting read. There was relatively little known about Jupiter, where the story takes place, and would not be relevant today. Search for the story online and read it. It won't ruin Avatar as a movie but see if your opinion is changed even a little about the connection.

Jun 30, 2013 11:27AM
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I watched it when it first came out, sitting there in the theatre the first thing that came to mind was that this looks like Roger Deans art. I searched the credits but did not see his name. I told others and they said " who`s Roger Dean " Whoever was the conceptual artist did not do enough research on the genre(  Great movie Great Artist  ) Whats in question here is  the artwork in the movie the imagery ( floating rocks the animals the foliage etc.)  not the story there are many movies with the same storyline.
Jun 30, 2013 11:24AM
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I read books. The first time I saw Avatar, I thought, "Hey, I've read this." If any one should sue it should be whoever has the rights to a book of short stories titled The Man From Earth, by Gordon R. Dickson. The short story is entitled Tiger Green. The plot is that a ship landed on a planet and was attacked by the jungle. The inhabitants wanted to cure the crew of their mental sickness. When the one last "sane" crewmember went to be cured, he found out that the entire planet was connected through plants that transmitted data through the roots. He only broke free because his personal will was in direct opposition of the inhabitants. Look it up and find out for yourself. James Cameron might have the rights to the story, but passing it off as his own work is truly the fantasy.
Jun 30, 2013 11:22AM
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Except that the movie "Fern Gully" was the exact same premise and concept for a movie nearly 20 years before "Avatar" came out. Im surprised nothing has ever been said about that.
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