Aug 01, 2021
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$100-M suit alleges Avatar director James Cameron copied B.C. man’s script

VANCOUVER – A Vancouver man has given Hollywood director James Cameron and film studio 20th Century Fox until Thursday to pay $100 million for allegedly violating copyright of his original work that he claims was used in the blockbuster film Avatar.

Emil Malak claims that Cameron and the film studio violated copyright by borrowing 45 elements of Malak’s sci-fi script, Terra Incognita, including the names of characters, their visual representations and the blue planet with a Tree of Life that Malak says he created in 1997.

Malak claims he sent his script in 2002 to Cameron’s company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Two years ago, Malak filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court, which he dropped after the film studio’s representatives said they could produce evidence that the Avatar script treatment (a rough outline) was written in 1996.

But Malak renewed his lawsuit this month — this time in the Federal Court of Canada — because he remains unconvinced by the evidence provided so far by Cameron and the film studio.

Malak said in an exclusive interview that he was sent a photo of the first page of Cameron’s script, which was dated 1996.

But his computer experts say the file was created in 2009 and was backdated, he said.

“I’ve been asking for the original computer file for two years,” Malak said in an exclusive interview.

He even offered to drop his legal claim if the original computer file could be produced and be examined by Malak’s computer experts, he said.

“If it was written in 1996, then it was divine intervention,” Malak said of the uncanny similarities of his work and Cameron’s movie.

But now Malak is going to ask a judge to have the original computer file disclosed, noting his entire claim rests on producing the computer file.

“Produce the file, because Emil Malak is not going away,” he said Wednesday.

Malak said he was informed this week that 20th Century Fox has retained a Toronto law firm, Norton Rose Canada LLP, to defend the case.

“It’s very tough fighting them, psychologically,” Malak admits. “These are big boys. It’s David and Goliath.”

He recalled he was invited to the 20th Century Fox studio boardroom in 2010 to meet with Cameron’s representatives, including the studio’s litigation lawyer and Avatar producer John Landau, who were dismissive of Malak’s claim.

“After Thursday, I’m not going to accept $100 million,” Malak said. “Right now, that’s a fraction of the profit.”

He estimated Avatar’s profits exceed $1 billion.

If Malak won his case, he would also be able to share in the profits of the two planned Avatar sequels, he said.

Released in 2009, Avatar was budgeted at $237 million and is the highest-grossing film of all time. It was the first film to gross more than $2 billion.

Cameron has reportedly signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to produce two sequels.

Malak claims he spent $100,000 developing his concept, which is about mining a precious mineral on another planet and encountering indigenous aliens that resemble those in Avatar: Some have blue skin with spots on their faces, yellow eyes and braided hair.

Malak’s “blue planet” also has dragons and something called a Life Tree, where the collective memories of the indigenous species are embedded, similar to the Home Tree in Avatar.

Malak hired a screenwriter and graphic artist to develop the script and characters.

He wrote Terra Incognita for his children, he said, after writing a novel and opera. He registered the script with the Writers Guild of Canada.

The original plan was to produce a movie and a 13-part animated TV series.

He got the idea to send Cameron a copy of the Terra Incognita screenplay when Cameron’s TV series, Dark Angel, was filming in 2002 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

He talked to someone on the set and later sent the script to Cameron’s company, he said.

Cameron must have read Malak’s script because the similarities to Avatar are too uncanny to be coincidence, he added.

“Cameron is a genius,” Malak conceded. “He created an unbelievable movie.”

He said he has tried to locate Cameron to serve him with the lawsuit and was told the director is out of the country.

“I was told he’s on a submarine right now in New Zealand,” Malak said Wednesday.

Cameron, who was born in Ontario, recently moved to New Zealand.

Malak has created a website (tiuniverse.com) to allow the public to make their own comparisons to his work and Avatar.

The film studio is represented by Toronto lawyer Brian Gray, who said in an email Wednesday to the Vancouver Sun: “I cannot comment without permission from my client.”

He sent the email in response to the Sun’s request for comment on Malak’s claims and his offer to settle for $100 million by March 15.

In a March 12 email to Malak’s Vancouver lawyer, Suzan El-Khatib, Gray said his client “will claim costs to the fullest extent and at the highest tariff level in conjunction with these proceedings, which we consider to be merit-less.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

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Front Page, Industry News

$100-M suit alleges Avatar director James Cameron copied B.C. man’s script

VANCOUVER – A Vancouver man has given Hollywood director James Cameron and film studio 20th Century Fox until Thursday to pay $100 million for allegedly violating copyright of his original work that he claims was used in the blockbuster film Avatar.

Emil Malak claims that Cameron and the film studio violated copyright by borrowing 45 elements of Malak’s sci-fi script, Terra Incognita, including the names of characters, their visual representations and the blue planet with a Tree of Life that Malak says he created in 1997.

Malak claims he sent his script in 2002 to Cameron’s company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Two years ago, Malak filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court, which he dropped after the film studio’s representatives said they could produce evidence that the Avatar script treatment (a rough outline) was written in 1996.

But Malak renewed his lawsuit this month — this time in the Federal Court of Canada — because he remains unconvinced by the evidence provided so far by Cameron and the film studio.

Malak said in an exclusive interview that he was sent a photo of the first page of Cameron’s script, which was dated 1996.

But his computer experts say the file was created in 2009 and was backdated, he said.

“I’ve been asking for the original computer file for two years,” Malak said in an exclusive interview.

He even offered to drop his legal claim if the original computer file could be produced and be examined by Malak’s computer experts, he said.

“If it was written in 1996, then it was divine intervention,” Malak said of the uncanny similarities of his work and Cameron’s movie.

But now Malak is going to ask a judge to have the original computer file disclosed, noting his entire claim rests on producing the computer file.

“Produce the file, because Emil Malak is not going away,” he said Wednesday.

Malak said he was informed this week that 20th Century Fox has retained a Toronto law firm, Norton Rose Canada LLP, to defend the case.

“It’s very tough fighting them, psychologically,” Malak admits. “These are big boys. It’s David and Goliath.”

He recalled he was invited to the 20th Century Fox studio boardroom in 2010 to meet with Cameron’s representatives, including the studio’s litigation lawyer and Avatar producer John Landau, who were dismissive of Malak’s claim.

“After Thursday, I’m not going to accept $100 million,” Malak said. “Right now, that’s a fraction of the profit.”

He estimated Avatar’s profits exceed $1 billion.

If Malak won his case, he would also be able to share in the profits of the two planned Avatar sequels, he said.

Released in 2009, Avatar was budgeted at $237 million and is the highest-grossing film of all time. It was the first film to gross more than $2 billion.

Cameron has reportedly signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to produce two sequels.

Malak claims he spent $100,000 developing his concept, which is about mining a precious mineral on another planet and encountering indigenous aliens that resemble those in Avatar: Some have blue skin with spots on their faces, yellow eyes and braided hair.

Malak’s “blue planet” also has dragons and something called a Life Tree, where the collective memories of the indigenous species are embedded, similar to the Home Tree in Avatar.

Malak hired a screenwriter and graphic artist to develop the script and characters.

He wrote Terra Incognita for his children, he said, after writing a novel and opera. He registered the script with the Writers Guild of Canada.

The original plan was to produce a movie and a 13-part animated TV series.

He got the idea to send Cameron a copy of the Terra Incognita screenplay when Cameron’s TV series, Dark Angel, was filming in 2002 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

He talked to someone on the set and later sent the script to Cameron’s company, he said.

Cameron must have read Malak’s script because the similarities to Avatar are too uncanny to be coincidence, he added.

“Cameron is a genius,” Malak conceded. “He created an unbelievable movie.”

He said he has tried to locate Cameron to serve him with the lawsuit and was told the director is out of the country.

“I was told he’s on a submarine right now in New Zealand,” Malak said Wednesday.

Cameron, who was born in Ontario, recently moved to New Zealand.

Malak has created a website (tiuniverse.com) to allow the public to make their own comparisons to his work and Avatar.

The film studio is represented by Toronto lawyer Brian Gray, who said in an email Wednesday to the Vancouver Sun: “I cannot comment without permission from my client.”

He sent the email in response to the Sun’s request for comment on Malak’s claims and his offer to settle for $100 million by March 15.

In a March 12 email to Malak’s Vancouver lawyer, Suzan El-Khatib, Gray said his client “will claim costs to the fullest extent and at the highest tariff level in conjunction with these proceedings, which we consider to be merit-less.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

$100-M suit alleges Avatar director James Cameron copied B.C. man’s script

VANCOUVER – A Vancouver man has given Hollywood director James Cameron and film studio 20th Century Fox until Thursday to pay $100 million for allegedly violating copyright of his original work that he claims was used in the blockbuster film Avatar.

Emil Malak claims that Cameron and the film studio violated copyright by borrowing 45 elements of Malak’s sci-fi script, Terra Incognita, including the names of characters, their visual representations and the blue planet with a Tree of Life that Malak says he created in 1997.

Malak claims he sent his script in 2002 to Cameron’s company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Two years ago, Malak filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court, which he dropped after the film studio’s representatives said they could produce evidence that the Avatar script treatment (a rough outline) was written in 1996.

But Malak renewed his lawsuit this month — this time in the Federal Court of Canada — because he remains unconvinced by the evidence provided so far by Cameron and the film studio.

Malak said in an exclusive interview that he was sent a photo of the first page of Cameron’s script, which was dated 1996.

But his computer experts say the file was created in 2009 and was backdated, he said.

“I’ve been asking for the original computer file for two years,” Malak said in an exclusive interview.

He even offered to drop his legal claim if the original computer file could be produced and be examined by Malak’s computer experts, he said.

“If it was written in 1996, then it was divine intervention,” Malak said of the uncanny similarities of his work and Cameron’s movie.

But now Malak is going to ask a judge to have the original computer file disclosed, noting his entire claim rests on producing the computer file.

“Produce the file, because Emil Malak is not going away,” he said Wednesday.

Malak said he was informed this week that 20th Century Fox has retained a Toronto law firm, Norton Rose Canada LLP, to defend the case.

“It’s very tough fighting them, psychologically,” Malak admits. “These are big boys. It’s David and Goliath.”

He recalled he was invited to the 20th Century Fox studio boardroom in 2010 to meet with Cameron’s representatives, including the studio’s litigation lawyer and Avatar producer John Landau, who were dismissive of Malak’s claim.

“After Thursday, I’m not going to accept $100 million,” Malak said. “Right now, that’s a fraction of the profit.”

He estimated Avatar’s profits exceed $1 billion.

If Malak won his case, he would also be able to share in the profits of the two planned Avatar sequels, he said.

Released in 2009, Avatar was budgeted at $237 million and is the highest-grossing film of all time. It was the first film to gross more than $2 billion.

Cameron has reportedly signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to produce two sequels.

Malak claims he spent $100,000 developing his concept, which is about mining a precious mineral on another planet and encountering indigenous aliens that resemble those in Avatar: Some have blue skin with spots on their faces, yellow eyes and braided hair.

Malak’s “blue planet” also has dragons and something called a Life Tree, where the collective memories of the indigenous species are embedded, similar to the Home Tree in Avatar.

Malak hired a screenwriter and graphic artist to develop the script and characters.

He wrote Terra Incognita for his children, he said, after writing a novel and opera. He registered the script with the Writers Guild of Canada.

The original plan was to produce a movie and a 13-part animated TV series.

He got the idea to send Cameron a copy of the Terra Incognita screenplay when Cameron’s TV series, Dark Angel, was filming in 2002 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

He talked to someone on the set and later sent the script to Cameron’s company, he said.

Cameron must have read Malak’s script because the similarities to Avatar are too uncanny to be coincidence, he added.

“Cameron is a genius,” Malak conceded. “He created an unbelievable movie.”

He said he has tried to locate Cameron to serve him with the lawsuit and was told the director is out of the country.

“I was told he’s on a submarine right now in New Zealand,” Malak said Wednesday.

Cameron, who was born in Ontario, recently moved to New Zealand.

Malak has created a website (tiuniverse.com) to allow the public to make their own comparisons to his work and Avatar.

The film studio is represented by Toronto lawyer Brian Gray, who said in an email Wednesday to the Vancouver Sun: “I cannot comment without permission from my client.”

He sent the email in response to the Sun’s request for comment on Malak’s claims and his offer to settle for $100 million by March 15.

In a March 12 email to Malak’s Vancouver lawyer, Suzan El-Khatib, Gray said his client “will claim costs to the fullest extent and at the highest tariff level in conjunction with these proceedings, which we consider to be merit-less.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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