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‘Cowboys & Aliens’ Sparks Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Comic-book artist claims that the sci-fi western concept was lifted from him

Given the reception that the Jon Favreau film "Cowboys & Aliens" received, one would think that people would be reluctant to take credit for inspiring it. But that's exactly what's at the heart of lawsuit filed Thursday.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, comic-book artist Steven John Busti claims that the graphic novel  "Cowboys & Aliens" — and, thus, the movie it was based on — stole its concept and more from a story he wrote and drew.

Read the full lawsuit here.

According to Busti, his story "Cowboys and Aliens," which was "centered around the idea of alien invaders set during the old west," was published in the comic book "Bizarre Fantasy #1" in 1995 — and, perhaps more important, was  previewed in an issue of "Comic Shop News," on the same page that featured coverage of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.

Two years later, Rosenberg and Platinum Studios produced a graphic one-sheet for their own proposed graphic novel titled "Cowboys & Aliens." Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution purchased the movie rights based on the one-sheet.

The suit names Universal, DreamWorks, Platinum Studios and Rosenberg as defendants.

In addition to the title and concept, Busti claims other similarities between his own work and the "Cowboys & Aliens" graphic novel — such as the fact that, in both stories, the alien spacecraft is initially discovered by Native American warriors.

Claiming copyright infringement, Busti is seeking unspecified damages, plus additional profits that have come from the alleged infringement, plus "further relief as the court may deem appropriate."

Universal and Platinum did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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