It’s now a matter of law: Joss Whedon built that “The Cabin in the Woods” all by himself. Or at least he didn’t steal it from another guy.
A judge has thrown out a $10 million copyright lawsuit filed by a novelist who claimed that Whedon’s 2012 film “The Cabin in the Woods” infringed on his novel “The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines.”
In his lawsuit, Peter Gallagher — not the actor from “The O.C.” — claimed that “Cabin bore numerous similarities to his book, but in an order granting Whedon’s motion to dismiss on Friday, judge Otis D. Wright pointed out that the similarities don’t rise to the level of infringement.
“While the two works share a similar premise of students traveling to remote locations and subsequently being murdered, real or otherwise, that premise is unprotectable,” Wright ruled. “The concept of young people venturing off to such locations and being murdered by some evil force is common in horror films.”
Wright also determined that the “plot of ‘Cabin’ is rather comical,” Gallagher’s book “starts off on a very serious note.”
In his suit, Gallagher contended that the defendants — which included Lionsgate Entertainment, Lionsgate Films, Mutant Enemy and Andrew Goddard — would have had access to his book because he sold it on the Venice Beach boardwalk, at the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade and outside the Chinese Theatre.
However, Wright said that, given the differences in the two works, the matter of access was moot.
“Gallagher argues strongly that Defendants had access to his work as he was distributing his book in the Santa Monica and Venice Beach areas of California,” Wright wrote. “Those arguments, however, are irrelevant due to the Court finding that the works were not similar,” the order reads.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.