Tuesday, September 02, 2014 Headlines & Global News

James Cameron Sued Over 'Avatar' in $50 Million Lawsuit: Did Cameron Copy Roger Dean's Artwork? (PICTURES/VIDEO)

By Julia Lynn Rubin j.rubin@hngn.com | Jul 01, 2013 11:07 AM EDT

'Avatar' Movie Poster
Cameron said he plans to complete principal shooting on the three movies at one time, perhaps over a period of about nine months and beginning in 2015. (Photo : Twentieth Century Fox Film)

James Cameron, the director who brought audiences the monumental film "Titanic," is currently being slammed by British artist Roger Dean in a $50 million lawsuit for allegedly copying Dean's original work in his mega-blockbuster "Avatar," BBC News reports.

Dean took legal action last week, accusing Cameron of "willful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation" of his original images and work. Dean, who designed album covers for prog-rock bands like Yes and Asia, explained that his original artwork of floating islands and graceful arches in the sky that he painted over the course of 40 years were ripped off for the design of Pandora, Cameron's fictional alien world featured in the film "Avatar."

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"The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre," read Dean's legal papers, which call Dean "an international artist and designer, whose evocative and visionary images...created a new genre of work," and claim that Cameron "studied and referenced his art in preparation for the film".

According to Dean, his papers are backed by "numerous comments on the internet" from fans of his work.

Cameron previously said that he first came up with the idea for the film in 1995, but this isn't the first time he's faced legal action for the 2009 film, which won three Academy Awards in 2010 including best art direction, best cinematography and best visual effects, and has grossed more than $2.8 billion internationally since its release.

In March, screenwriter Bryant Moore claimed that parts of two scripts he had sent to Cameron's company were used in the final version of the film, and a judge gave Moore the go-ahead for the lawsuit. And in February, a judge threw out a lawsuit by artist Gerald Morawski, who claimed that Cameron had coped his work for the film.

Cameron has already announced two sequels to "Avatar" that are already in pre-production, the first due out in December 2014 and the following a year later.

Click here and here to see comparisons of Roger Dean's original work to the art design in "Avatar" and decide for yourself.


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