Court dismisses suit by former employee Eric Ryder
“Avatar” director James Cameron came up with the idea for those blue skinned aliens and the planet Pandora all on his own, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday.
The filmmaker has been battling a plagiarism lawsuit by Eric Ryder, who claimed Cameron stole the idea for a 3D environmental epic from a story he wrote called “K.R.Z. 2068.” Ryder filed in 2011, claiming that Cameron's production company Lightstorm Entertainment had commissioned him to craft a motion picture out of his idea, but later cut him out of his rightful share of the profits.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason granted Cameron's motion for summary judgment, dismissing Ryder's suit in its entirety, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, which distributed the film, told TheWrap.
Gregory Albright, an attorney for Ryder, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her decision, Judge Bryant-Deason ruled that it could not be disputed that “Avatar” was independently created by Cameron.
It's not the only lawsuit Cameron has faced regarding the origins of “Avatar.” Last January, a federal court judge dismissed a complaint by Gerald Morawski, saying that “clear, undisputed evidence shows Cameron independently created ‘Avatar’ and did not use Morawski's ideas.”
Morawski, an artist by trade, said he gave the director the concept for about a native tribe that lives in harmony with the rainforest, but is forced to fight off a mining company, during a business meeting decades before the film was made.
“Sadly, it seems that whenever a successful motion picture is produced, there are people who try to ‘get rich quick’ by claiming their ideas were used,” Cameron said in a statement. ” Several such claims have been asserted in connection with ‘Avatar.’ I am grateful that our courts have consistently found these claims to be meritless. As I have previously stated, ‘Avatar’ was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. I am very appreciative that the Court rejected the specious claim by Mr. Ryder that I used any of his ideas in my film.”
“Avatar” is the highest grossing film of all time, having earned nearly $2.8 billion worldwide. Cameron plans to make three sequels to the 2009 hit.