×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Avatar’ Idea Theft Suit Rejected by Appellate Court

A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron.

The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that pre-dated the time he met artist Gerald Morawski in 1991.

The decision upholds a 2013 ruling from U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow, who found that although Morawski’s project pitch — called “Guardians of Eden” — bore similarities to “Avatar,” she was convinced by Cameron’s 45-page declaration that showed how “Avatar” was his own idea.

The appeals court noted that Cameron “presented detailed and copious evidence of independent creation. Under California law, if a defendant presents ‘clear’ and ‘positive’ evidence of independent creation, any inference of use of another’s work arising from access and substantial similarity is dispelled, and a plaintiff may no longer solely rely on that inference to establish improper use.”

Judge Morgan Christen dissented, concluding that the case still had contested issues of fact that warranted going forward with the case.

Jon Landau, Cameron’s producing partner, said in a statement, “While it is unfortunate that a myriad of fortune-hunting plaintiffs seek to take credit for the success of our film, we are grateful that the courts have consistently seen through these grossly meritless claims.”

 

More Biz

  • STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23

    John Williams to Compose New 'Star Wars' Music for Disney Parks Attractions

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • Fox Sports NFL Sunday

    AT&T Sets Broad Carriage Renewal Pact With Fox Networks Group

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • President Donald Trump talks with Gov.-elect

    Trump Says He'll Work With California to Aid Wildfire Relief

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • church set Westworld Paramount Ranch Western

    Park Service Aims to Rebuild Western Town at Paramount Ranch in Two Years

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • Jim Acosta Microphone Moment

    First They Came For Acosta. Why We Sued Trump Before He Acts Again (Opinion)

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • Daniel GlassUJA-Federation of New York's Music

    Glassnote Music Strikes Strategic Partnership With Kobalt’s AWAL

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

  • Movie Theater

    Studios Expected to Push for Early Home Release in 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    A federal appeals court rejected an artist’s claim that the plot of “Avatar” was stolen from an idea he pitched to writer-director James Cameron. The appellate court panel sided 2-1 with Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in their contention that “Avatar” was an independent creation, with the director drawing upon produced and unproduced projects from the 1970s and ’80s that […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content