Neill Blomkamp, Sony Cleared in ‘Elysium’ Copyright Suit

Judge rules that the director didn’t steal idea for the 2013 sci-fi thriller from an online site

Last Updated: October 6, 2014 @ 3:48 PM

A judge has thrown out a screenwriter’s copyright suit accusing Academy Award-nominated director Neill Blomkamp of stealing his screenplay and turning it into the 2013 movie “Elysium.”

U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton granted Blomkamp and co-defendants Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and others a summary judgment on Friday against writer Steve Wilson Briggs, who claimed that Blomkamp read a screenplay called “Butterfly Driver” online and turned it into his film starring Matt Damon.

Also read: ‘Elysium’ Director Neill Blomkamp, Sony, Producers Sued for Copyright Infringement

Both stories are set in a futuristic world in which the protagonists leave Earth for a satellite space city, but the shared aspects are only abstract, Hamilton wrote in her decision.

Briggs claimed that Blomkamp read his screenplay on the script-sharing website TriggerSreet.com in 2007 and stole the ideas. The director maintained he had heard of the site and that the inspiration for the story came from his youth in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Elysium” was released in August 2013 and grossed more than $286 million globally for Sony. In 2009, Blomkamp was nominated for an Oscar for his adaptation of Best Picture nominee “District 9,” which he also directed.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.