‘Avatar’ Plagiarism Suit Against James Cameron Dismissed

Judge finds Cameron created 'Avatar'

A California state court judge has sided with James Cameron, dismissing a lawsuit alleging the director had plagiarized ideas for the blockbuster film “Avatar.”

Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment were sued in 2011 by Eric Ryder, who alleged he had spent two years developing a movie at Lightstorm that became the basis for “Avatar.” Ryder said he wrote an environmentally themed movie script called “K.R.Z. 2068” and created treatments, photos, 3D imagery and characters.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason granted Cameron’s motion Wednesday for summary judgment and found “Avatar” was independently created by Cameron.

Attorneys for Ryder said they were considering an appeal.

20th Century Fox said Bryant-Deason’s ruling was consistent with a separate ruling earlier this year by U.S. District Court  Judge Margaret Morrow in a similar suit filed by Gerald Morawski. Morrow granted summary judgment in favor of Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment, ruling that while a project that Morawski pitched to Cameron in 1991 bore similarities to “Avatar,” the director independently created those elements before his meetings with Morawski.

Cameron issued a statement in response to the Ryder suit: “Sadly, it seems that whenever a successful motion picture is produced, there are people who try to ‘get rich quick’ by claiming their ideas were used. Several such claims have been asserted in connection with ‘Avatar.’ I am grateful that our courts have consistently found these claims to be meritless.”

“As I have previously stated, ‘Avatar’ was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades,” Cameron added. “I am very appreciative that the Court rejected the specious claim by Mr. Ryder that I used any of his ideas in my film.”

Attorneys for Ryder said, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and we are considering our options for appeal.”

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