Yet Another Person Sues, Claiming James Cameron Copied The Idea For Avatar

from the and-on-and-on-and-on dept

People really have an incredible ability to assume that only they could possibly have a very common idea. Lots of people have pointed out that James Cameron's Avatar seems similar to all sorts of stories. In fact, the site io9 put together a giant list of books and movies that some claimed were copied by Cameron. And, of course, we've already mentioned two separate lawsuits. Well, now we can add a third one to the list, and it has just as much a chance to succeed as the others. In this case, it's made even more ridiculous by the fact that the book in question was written after Cameron was already working on Avatar.

In most of the cases with these types of lawsuits, it seems like those suing are really just filing what they likely know is a bogus lawsuit to get publicity for their book/movie/etc. (which is why we're not naming the book in this case). But, it does highlight an important point that we've discussed plenty of times in the past: lots of people have ideas that are similar. Ideas, by themselves, are neither unique nor protectable. It's the execution or (within the copyright realm) the expression that is unique. Yet, too many people overvalue the idea and assume that only they could possibly have had it. The idea behind the story of Avatar is pretty simplistic and common, really. It's been done plenty of times before. The reason the movie is getting so much attention is because of the execution.
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Filed Under: avatar, copyright, expression, ideas, james cameron, stories

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  1. icon
    Andrew F (profile), 21 May 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Question...

    Like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Or William Shatner's rendition of the Rocket Man?

    Answer probably lies somewhere in how the law treats derivative works and transformative uses.

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