Avatar Director James Cameron May End Up Losing $50M Copyright Lawsuit


When a lot of money is made off of an idea, people tend to want a piece of the cake and sue in order to get it. James Cameron’s 2009 Academy Award winning film Avatar is the highest grossing film of all-time so naturally it’s been the subject of plenty of lawsuits over the years. But according to Deadline, Cameron and 20th Century Fox might have cause for concern over the latest lawsuit they’ve been slapped with as artist William Roger Dean has filed a $50 million lawsuit that might hold water.

Deadline reports that Dean is seeking $50 million in damages over the fact that he believes Avatar was either based off of or heavily borrowed from artwork he brought to Cannes back in 2005.

In fact, it is the ubiquity of his work, as well as a movie proposal based on it that he took at the 2005 Cannes Film Fest, that has Dean convinced the look of the 2009 3D sci-fi film were derived from his images.

According to the lawsuit that was filed on June 27th, Dean alleges that Avatar used his artwork in the creation of Pandora, which was the planet the film takes place on. Dean is also claiming contributory infringement, breach of implied contact, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

This is a case to watch as it could end up costing Cameron and 20th Century Fox a pretty penny and might even effect how we look at the visuals in the film and Cameron’s involvement with crafting the world we saw. No one is taking Cameron’s 3-D pioneering away from him but rather the artwork and visuals that the 3-D brought to life may not have totally been original.

Tags: Avatar James Cameron

  • Caley McGuire

    When Roger Dean’s name didn’t show up in the Avatar credits, I was blown away. Anyone familiar with Dean’s work knows that Pandora was created in the early 70′s and can be found within the album cover art for Yes (Fragile,Close to the Edge,Relayer, et. al.) among others. The film’s creators ‘appropriated’ a man’s life’s work.

    • Josh Hill

      Exactly. More power to a guy not afraid to defend his life work against an intimdating name like Cameron. More power to Dean, if he deserves credit (which it clearly appears he does) I hope he gets it.

  • Merlin

    Bull- Dean’s work is NOTHING like Avatar.His a leper like just the rest wanting money for doing nothing, his probably broke and sees a way to make a bundle.Just because someone has an idea does not mean they own it. If that were the case there would not be a spat of Vampire movies because we know after all that someone is going to be bitten.Its all about the MONEY.Had this movie made $10 mil- we would not be hearing from the likes of him or any of the other leeches claiming their “ideas were stolen”. Its surprising that none of these so called ” great writers and ” artists” are suing each other”. Ideas are a dime a dozen.Did he seriously expect Cameron to contact him and say ” Roger- l am making this movie where some of the Mountains break away from their foundation and float, and wanted to know if it is permissible?”Has Roger been reading up on the fact that Cameron took FOOTAGE of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park on which Avatar’s Mountains are based?- why sue after 4 years? Total BS.Go back to your rocking chair.