Pandora's Box - An Avatar blog

Avatar: Unexpected twist in James Cameron plagiarism case

Complainant moves to have judge of the case removed

If there's one thing that James Cameron is probably sick of, it's court cases. The 'Avatar' director had just seemingly cleared the latest legal action to be taken against him, when a judge ruled that Eric Ryder's legal action against the hugely successful director was frivolous and baseless, and promptly dismissed it. Ryder had contested that Cameron's 'Avatar', the most commercially successful movie in box office history, had heavily plagiarised his own work, a short story entitled 'KRZ 2068'.

Ryder claimed that his story, which he had approached movie studios in order to term into a film, was heavily borrowed from by 'Avatar', and that the treatments, photos, 3-D imagery and characters which he created for it bore some resemblance to corresponding elements of the Cameron-directed cinematic smash hit.

Despite the wave of plagiarism accusations that have been levelled at 'Avatar', and indeed at Cameron throughout his directorial career, all seemed well for him at the time, with the verdict clearly vindicating the director of any wrongdoing.

However, it seems that the complaint of My. Ryder is far from over, and the writer who considers himself to have been wronged by the content of 'Avatar' is not at all willing to accept the verdict of the court. Ryder has moved to prolong the action against Cameron by seeking to disqualify the California state court judge who ruled in favour of the 'Avatar' director.

The so-called "statement of objection" was filed in a Los Angeles state court on Monday, and proposes to remove the Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason. The reasoning given for this move by the statement is that Bryant-Deason's husband Paul, from whom she received the second part of her double-barrelled name, has according to Ryder served as an executive producer and unit production manager for Fox for the past six years. It is clear that Ryder views this as a conflict of interests, and is seeking to re-open the case with what he perceives to be an impartial judge in the place of Bryant-Deason.

Although Fox was not named as a defendant in the case, the statement of objection filed by Ryder claims that the huge production studio has a clear "material interest" in the outcome of the case. Fox had been involved in the production and distribution of Cameron's 'Avatar' back when it was released in 2009.

Fox have asserted in a released statement that Paul Deason is not an employee of the Fox corporation, and will presumably contest the statement of objection which has been filed by Mr. Ryder.

As of yet, it is unclear how this next stage of the case will unfold, but James Cameron will no doubt await the verdict with baited breath.

Christopher Morris watches too many sci-fi films, has a keen interest in current affairs, and is a regular contributor to Yahoo on television, cinema, video games, technology and politics.

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