Florida Author Sues Disney over ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Films

Florida-based author Royce Matthew has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company alleging that his work was taken and used in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.

This is not the first time Matthew has sued Disney.

After the first Pirates film was released, Matthew filed a lawsuit against Disney in 2005, where during the discovery process he says he provided evidence that his work - from his low-budget film Supernatural Pirates - was taken. Disney argued that Pirates of the Caribbean was "independently created." The company even published a book about how they transformed the theme park ride into a hit movie, and showed some of artist Marc Davis' "never-before published" artwork in discovery.

At that time Matthew signed a release and backed away from his claims. Fast forward to 2013 and Matthew is now alleging that Disney "used false and fraudulent evidence to procure a settlement." He claims the book Disney published about the ride-turned-into-a-movie shows a scene from Davis' work that is now attributed to another artist, Collin Campbell. Matthew argues this is evidence that Disney had created an illusion that elements of the film were independently created.

One of the elements at issue involves the pirates turning into living skeletons under the moonlight, which Matthew claims Disney stole from him and his movie.

In order to prove his claim, Matthew will need to show that his work was more than just an idea - rather that it was protectable work - and that Disney created something substantially similar. Then there's also the statute of limitations question and the question of whether or not this new claim is precluded by the release his signed in 2007.

Matthew's attorney states in the lawsuit that the 2007 release was "fraudulently procured" and therefore should be rescinded. But if it's not, "then the Plaintiff still retains, and the Plaintiff is entitled to enforce, his independently viable copyright infringement claims against the Defendants based upon the conduct taking place after May-June 2007."

The lawsuit also names Jerry Bruckheimer, Buena Vista, and others. Disney has not commented.

Story by Traci C., Source

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