Judge dismisses copyright claim vs. ‘Expendables’

Ruling cites 'stock devices' of genre as crux of similarities

A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.”

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were actually “simple stock devices that are standard in action movies.”

Webb, who works for Walker Digital as a writer of corporate speeches and promotional videos, wrote a script titled “The Cordoba Caper” that featured a team of American mercenaries who are hired by a billionaire to stop a genocide and end up rescuing a young woman, Rakoff noted.

Stallone admitted that he used a script, “Barrow,” from screenwriter David Callahan, as a “starting point” for his screenplay, but that he never saw the script for “The Cordoba Caper.” Callahan and Stallone shared screenplay credit.

Webb submitted his script to eight screenwriting competitions, but Rakoff said that “it would require almost endless speculation to explain how Webb’s submission of ‘Corboda’ to amateur screenplay competitions ended up in front of Stallone.”

Although there were similarities in both screenplays, Rakoff said Webb failed to show that there was not “any reasonable possibility of independent creation.” Both works featured an identical name of a Latin American dictator, General Garza. “But, as defendants point out, Garza is a common Hispanic surname,” Rakoff wrote.

Also named in Webb’s suit were Lionsgate, Nu Image and other production entities. Callahan was also a defendant but dismissed from the case in April.

More Film

  • Kevin Hart Great Outdoors

    Film News Roundup: Kevin Hart Boards Action-Comedy 'On the Run' at Universal

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    AMC Adding Late-Night Screenings for 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • Donald Trump 'Mentally Unfit' to Be

    Donald Trump Is 'Mentally Unfit' to Be U.S. President, Rob Reiner Says

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • Tiffany Haddish Girls Trip

    Tiffany Haddish Joins Ike Barinholtz in Satirical Thriller 'The Oath'

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • The Greatest Showman on Earth

    Hugh Jackman to Perform 'Greatest Showman' Song Live During Fox's 'A Christmas Story Live' Telecast

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • Redbox On Demand - Roku

    Redbox Launches Digital Movie and TV Service, Without Disney Titles

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

  • Nabil Ayouch Talks Taboos, Arab Youth,

    Nabil Ayouch: ‘No Subject Should be Taboo in the Arab World’

    A federal judge has rejected a marketing executive’s claim that Sylvester Stallone copied his screenplay in writing the action movie “The Expendables.” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, reaffirming an order he issued in June, dismissed Marcus Webb’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that many of the “striking similarities” between “The Expendables” and Webb’s script were […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content