Shia LaBeouf Tweets Cease and Desist Letter From Daniel Clowes’ Attorney

Shia LaBeouf
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Less than a week after sky-writing an apology for plagiarizing his 2012 short film “HowardCantour.com” from a Daniel Clowes’ comic, Shia LaBeouf went public again on Tuesday by tweeting a cease and desist letter from Clowes’ attorney in the latest bizarre twist in the actor’s ongoing copyright saga.

“Your client is seriously out of control,” the letter reads.

Addressed to LaBeouf’s attorney Brian G. Wolf, the comic book artist/writer’s rep claims: “We have been waiting since December 27th to hear how Mr. LaBeouf intends to make right, but all that has happened is further wrongful acts.”

While no official lawsuit has been filed (as of Tuesday evening), Clowes’ attorney, Michael Kump, suggests that LaBeouf has again violated his client’s rights in a series of recent tweets related to the incident. For instance, one of LaBeouf’s rants proclaimed a new short film was in the works that carried the same logline as another Clowes work, titled “Daniel Boring.”

“No analysis is needed to prove that Mr. LaBeouf’s most recent transgressions violate Mr. Clowes’ rights under the law,” Kump adds.

LaBeouf, who apologized several times to the comic-book writer last month on Twitter (“You have my apologies for offending you for thinking I was being serious instead of accurately realizing I was mocking you,” he wrote), has since peppered his messages with a tone of sarcasm and irony, posting words and famous apologies from other celebrities to his Twitter account including this one from Kanye West to pop star Taylor Swift:

Clowes’ lawyer is not amused.

“Leave Mr. Clowes alone and address these problems immediately,” Kump concludes in the letter, calling the actor’s New Years Day skywriting “foolishness.”

It’s unclear whether LaBeouf and Clowes will settle the case out of court but as of Tuesday, the actor, who next appears in Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac,” continued to challenge the idea of plagiarism.

“We used to sit in a circle around a campfire and tell stories and share them and change them and own them together because they were ours,” he wrote. “Now our stories are owned for profit we buy corporate property and call it our culture enriching others as we deplete ourselves.”

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  1. Ne de Vie says:

    The real issue here is the difference between FAIR USE appropriation for parody or satire and PLAGIARISM.
    In my opinion, Shia is clearly committing the latter.
    If he had sampled some of Mr. Clowes’ work in order to parody it or use it to make a new statement I believe that is fair use. However, it appears he has simply lifted the plot of the work in question and given no credit or acknowledgement.
    This is plagiarism.
    Admittedly, this subject of copyright is very contentious and varies from case to case. I think our current system is broken because it allows for no difference between these two sides. Tyrannical corporate entities are allowed to own any and all intellectual property they choose and if something doesn’t suit them they simply throw money at the government and voila – Mickey Mouse cartoons from the silent era that should have been in the public domain by now are protected in perpetuity, earning millions of dollars for people that had little or nothing to do with their actual creation; while an artist who may inclined to lift a bit of those cartoons to create a new, transformative work can and will be sued into oblivion.
    Artists have been appropriating other work since art began. Shakespeare cribbed Romeo and Juliet from earlier works, adding new elements and characters to flesh out the story and make it his own. Would he be sued in today’s world by a corporation claiming to own those earlier works? Could this same entity claim that because they owned the earlier works they also de facto own the thousands of other books and films that draw from Romeo and Juliet? Appropriation is a healthy, essential part of creating art and always has been, but where do we draw the line?
    Copyright was created to protect artists and ensure that they are credited and paid for their work, appropriated elements and all. After the artists are gone for many decades and there is no one who can reasonably profit from this protection, it was intended to be lifted and the work left in the public domain. Parodies and appropriations of works are also protected as long as the work is a new statement and not simply a copy. The age of the internet has greatly magnified these issues because we have access to so much media and technology. Everyone is now empowered to use media as they see fit, and the laws have simply been outpaced, for better and worse.
    However, Mr. Labeouf is clearly on the wrong side of both this debate and the actual law, and would be advised to immediately cease and desist. It seems his contention is less of a valid political statement than it is a way to cover his ass because he got caught. After unfortunately seeing him nude in a short film recently, one hopes he covers his ass and his crotch from now on.

  2. I’m guessing Shia won’t mind if he doesn’t get paid for his acting then; he’s essentially giving permission to everyone to PIRATE NOT PAY. >:-)

  3. diamonion says:

    A bankrupting lawsuit should shut Shia’s retarded mouth.

  4. KP says:

    Anyone supporting Shia = Sheep. Keep surfing TMZ…..

  5. Dan says:

    I can’t get upset at Transformers boy! He’s just trying to break out of his mediocre mold

  6. Jake says:

    I blame anyone who would want to watch a Shia LaBeouf short film to begin with for all this.

  7. spassky says:

    I think we’ve found our new Jaden…

  8. Huey says:

    Blow me shia

  9. John S. says:

    Apparently, Shia feels like no one should be able to make a living from their protected work – whether it be a piece of writing, a patent for a piece of software or the logos on his clothing. That’s a great piece of thinking Shia. the problem is you’re about two hundred years behind the times. When you ‘wrote’ (used lightly now) your own comic books did you file a copyright for them? I’m guessing you or someone involved did. Uou sound like you think you’re going to ‘think’ your way out of your current problem – to try and sound clever – but it’s your ‘clever thinking’ that made you believe you could steal someone’s copyrighted material and get away with it in the first place. Good luck with that, and please keep trying to be clever. We’re all loving it and getting a great laugh from it. Keep going….

    • E.a. Solinas says:

      I suspect he would throw a fit if anyone pirated one of his movies.

    • Kaleb says:

      Agreed. But it is a real problem in the internet age. People have no boundaries. It happens all the time to musicians, photographers, comic book artists, writers. I read it recently happened to the Kindle author of Picking Up Strays. He wrote and self published a crime novel.

      A tech repairing his computer lifted the novel and posted on a P2P and it got trade like 10,000 times before he was able to get it down.

      If the guy was selling his novel for $6 bucks and 10,000 people downloaded it without paying he was out like 60 grand!

      Why do people think that art, even bad art, has no so little value. You don’t call a plumber, have him fix your toilet, then take his wrench. It’s just wrong.

  10. Mick T says:

    So, it sounds like Shia would not have any problem with or legal cause against someone taking any of the comics or other works he’s written and plagiarizing them for one’s own profit and creative purpose. Of course that would assume anything Shia wrote actually was original to him in the first place. Maybe that’s the problem – he has never created anything original so he doesn’t value originality. That seems to ring more true at the moment to explain his point of view regarding ownership of one’s creative work.

  11. John C. says:

    I respect and love what Shia is doing. If you don’t get what he is doing, then that’s the problem, its you supporting tyranny and corruption. And that’s how it rules.

    • E.a. Solinas says:

      How is he defying tyranny and corruption? HE IS A HOLLYWOOD STAR. By definition, he supports it as long as he makes movies.

      He’s only defying the concept of copyright because he got caught with his pants down. If someone pirated one of his movies, he’d ineffectually try to beat them down.

      Funny how he doesn’t plagiarize someone like Steven Spielberg, instead focusing on a relatively obscure graphic novelist. Yeah, attack that relatively obscure graphic novelist! Defeat tyranny and corruption!

    • gymviking says:

      He is a thief that knows that he can hire some very high-powered attorneys to keep the (little guy) actual author from being paid. Shia IS tyranny and corruption. He just beligerantly points the finger while he is doing it.

    • Phillip says:

      Seems a pretty stupid thing to say. What exactly is he doing? Fighting tyranny and corruption? Please enlighten us ignorant rubes!

    • Cassandra says:

      Please explain. I don’t understand what he’s doing and I certain don’t support tyranny and corruption.

  12. Phillip says:

    Hey LeBeouf – Plagiarism isn’t just a heinous crime, it is also one of the most pathetic acts anyone can commit. A major and sincere apology is called for, if you’re too much of a coward, then perhaps just quietly retreat.

  13. e-boy says:

    Shia re-releases his short film with new credits (Clowes included), pays him some money and life goes on.

    But no, instead they want to pay all the money to lawyers and make silly comments on Twitter etc.

    Shia’s film is done and out there. There’s just no point to try and bury it. They should work together now behind closed doors and resolve this.

  14. if you must steal ideas ….elements of another mans soul then you as an individual must be entirely depleted as a human being . Writing ,drawing and creating i extremely hard work . the work of a craftsman who spends hours slaving over a product for far less money then any Hollywood actor .sometimes simply for the reward of being acknowledged and this man has attempted to take even this most smallest of rewards from Mr.clowes . how would shia feel if some one stole his job ? took his money ?

  15. Times like this make me seriously miss Even Stevens.

  16. Nanny Mo says:

    It looks like Twitter has a Twit. I’m amazed how people say things on Twitter that they would never say face-to-face.

  17. bongokillerclown says:

    as a writer find it violating…….

  18. Marilyn says:

    Shia is disrespectful to writers. Without us, he wouldn’t have scripts to showcase his craft.

    Some actors think they can do whatever want without consequences.

  19. E.a. Solinas says:

    Yes, Shia. Remind us that you’re a filthy plagiarist, that you have committed the ultimate artistic sin.

    And when you’re caught with your pants down, rant about the evils of copyrighting ANYTHING to absolve yourself of blame after you’re caught. I hate the copyright Nazis, but this is too much.

  20. No-name says:

    It’s an interesting case for copyright lawyers

  21. Ed says:

    This guy’s career is officially over. First he pisses on Spielberg and Indiana Jones (even though I agree it was a piece of crap). Now he’s doing this b.s. Lars von Tries crap (art my-ass, just an excuse to create soft-core porn and call it art – Lars von Tries is the biggest f’ing hack in the history of cinema) . Now this stunt. It won’t be long before he’s doing esoteric art films in some strangers basement in Baltimore. Then it will be Asylum movies, and eventually a failed sitcom, followed by a long run of dinner theater. And then when he’s old a grey, we’ll be seeing him at the Hollywood Show and Comic-Con signing autographs of Transformers and Indiana Jones DVD’s.

    You’re done Shia, it’s over. Take a bow and say goodnight.

    • Gabe says:

      Calling Lars Von Tier’s films crap or saying he is a fing hack won’t give you credibility specially if anyone has watched Dancer in the Dark. His career does not need to be over, but is in serious risk if he doesn’t stop his Miley Cyrus rant, he can’t just become a bizarre stripper and get naked like Miley so he is gonna have a harder time getting over this, and even then Miley didn’t make Spielberg mad, so, this is more of a Megan Fox thingy.

    • E.a. Solinas says:

      I look forward to seeing him in “Transmorphers 27.”

      And I agree. Plagiarism, unprofessional behavior, cruel to others, mediocre talent at best, below-average looks, and acts like a spoilt brat when his bad behavior is pointed out. Soon he’ll be persona non grata.

  22. Matthew B says:

    If there is a case then sure the little bastard. He had always been a nut case.

  23. Glenn C. says:

    I just don’t get it. Why do people feel like they must tell the whole world what they are doing??!!!! In these matters which should be private they display all this stuff!!! Why???!!!! It’s crazy! There are so many out there that are that lonely and insecure??!!! To have to let the world know about their private lives?! Why I hate Facebook. It’s ridiculous! Shallow.

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