James Cameron Wins Avatar Copyright Lawsuit

As reported by JD Supra, a copyright infringement lawsuit against filmmaker James Cameron over the blockbuster film Avatar was dismissed last week by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The case, Dean v. Cameron et al., was brought by William Dean, a noted visual artist, who claimed that some of the imagery and visual elements of the fictional world Pandora were copied from his works.  In the opinion dismissing the case, the Court held that “Plaintiff cannot show that a substantial similarity exists between Avatar and the copyrightable elements of Plaintiff’s artworks,” because “no average lay observer would recognize Avatar as having been appropriated from the copyrighted work.”  The opinion provides a useful overview of the boundaries of copyright protection, and of the well-established legal principle that “not all copying results in copyright infringement”; as the Court notes, “many Hollywood movies take their inspiration from other movies or works — or go even further — without running afoul of the Copyright Act.”  Read the full article here, and the Court’s opinion here.

 By broddi [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

By broddi [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Reposted from JD Supra.