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snopes
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A Brooklyn-born screenwriter claims Disney plundered his buccaneer screenplay to make the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Royce Mathew of Altamonte Springs, Fla., says the characters of Will Turner and the cursed crew of the Black Pearl were all stolen from a script he started developing in 1980.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/434431p-366004c.html

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Legion600
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Well, if he was smart he registered his script with the Writer's Guild of America. Then he will have proof of his claim. Otherwise he may have a hard time proving his case.

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vanilla
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TMZ.com has copies of the lawsuit documents, but not the exhibits attached [Frown] .

Apparently he has copyrighted all his related works, but it still makes me wonder as to why he waited 3 years to file this lawsuit.

ETA: Just researched the copyrights at US Copyright Office , and all documents related to SNPM were registered in July 2005 - 2 years after PotC was released. You can find this information by entering Mathew, Royce into the search engine. His works are listed under Mathew, Royce, 1962-

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Rehcsif
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waffles
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Rehcsif
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People are claiming Disney (and other big corporations) stole their ideas all the time. Sometimes this is purely frivolous lawsuits, sometimes it's because there are only so many ideas in the world, and someone is bound to have a similar plot idea at some prior point that Disney ends up coming with independantly.

I would suspect that someone with the pocketbooks of Disney wouldn't risk a copyright violation -- they'd simply buy out the story rights. So I doubt this suit has any merit, just as the others didn't (anyone remember the similar Finding Nemo suit, that sued basically on the grounds that Nemo looked like another children's character? Of course all clownfish look alike, but no matter...)

-Tim

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snopes
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quote:
I would suspect that someone with the pocketbooks of Disney wouldn't risk a copyright violation -- they'd simply buy out the story rights. So I doubt this suit has any merit
Assuming they deliberately used the story in question, yes. But it also happens that creative types sometimes subconsciously recall ideas they've heard elsewhere and inadvertently pitch them as original creations.

- snopes

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1958Fury
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Yeah, people claimed that both "The Lion King" and "Atlantis" were rip-offs of anime, etc...

Frankly, while I love Disney movies, after a while it really does seem like you're watching the same movie over and over again, with different characters. Maybe Disney should sue themselves.

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Cambion
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quote:
Originally posted by 1958Fury:
Frankly, while I love Disney movies, after a while it really does seem like you're watching the same movie over and over again, with different characters. Maybe Disney should sue themselves.

It's probably the vanilla character design and all the goddamn songs that the characters seem to be able to pull out of the air and sing in a suspiciously perfect fashion in every film; if you look at it that way, Disney characters have the best improvisation skills ever known. Let me tell you, I never knew lions could sing...
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Ophiuchus
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The similarities between The Lion King and Kimba: The White Lion are pretty straight-forward enough that it seems highly unlikely that a lot of the characters ideas were in fact swiped...
The fact that the names of the main characters rhyme says quite a bit in that.

I don't know what the claims about Atlantis are.

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Cambion
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quote:
Originally posted by 1958Fury:
Frankly, while I love Disney movies, after a while it really does seem like you're watching the same movie over and over again, with different characters. Maybe Disney should sue themselves.

It's probably the vanilla character design and all the goddamn songs that the characters seem to be able to pull out of the air and sing in a suspiciously perfect fashion in every film; if you look at it that way, Disney characters have the best improvisation skills ever known. Let me tell you, I never knew lions could sing...
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UrbanReindeer
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"The Lion King" is just "Hamlet" with a happy ending. Maybe Shakespeare should sue. [Wink]

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1958Fury
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quote:
I don't know what the claims about Atlantis are. [/QB]
The anime is called "Nadia: Legend of Blue Water" if you want to Google it.

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Penny
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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
Of course all clownfish look alike, but no matter...

So you say. I'm sure the clownfish think all humans look alike.
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LemonLimeade
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
I would suspect that someone with the pocketbooks of Disney wouldn't risk a copyright violation -- they'd simply buy out the story rights. So I doubt this suit has any merit
Assuming they deliberately used the story in question, yes. But it also happens that creative types sometimes subconsciously recall ideas they've heard elsewhere and inadvertently pitch them as original creations.

- snopes

That happened on The Twilight Zone with an episode called "Sounds and Silences." Someone had sent Rod Serling a script which was rejected and he forgot all about it. Two years later he wrote basically the same story, which became that episode. The original author sued and the case was settled for about $3500. They then locked up the episode in the vaults and it wasn't shown again until a few years ago.

OT: I wonder how vanilla came to mean 'bland.' Vanilla really isn't bland.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
People are claiming Disney (and other big corporations) stole their ideas all the time. Sometimes this is purely frivolous lawsuits, sometimes it's because there are only so many ideas in the world, and someone is bound to have a similar plot idea at some prior point that Disney ends up coming with independantly.

also, a big corperation like Disney may want this case to "go away" and may settle for a large sum so that it doesn't to to trial - even if Disney is not guilty. Basically, they decide that the cost of settling is less than the cost of fighting the suit.

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1958Fury
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
also, a big corperation like Disney may want this case to "go away" and may settle for a large sum so that it doesn't to to trial - even if Disney is not guilty. Basically, they decide that the cost of settling is less than the cost of fighting the suit.

That's a good point. There could be people out there who make a living dreaming up lawsuits against big corporations... if the corp decides to fight back, they drop the lawsuit. But if even only 1% of the companies decide to just send a "shut-up" check, they make a profit.

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Rehcsif
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quote:
Originally posted by 1958Fury:
There could be people out there who make a living dreaming up lawsuits against big corporations...

Could be? I bet you a finger in a Wendy's chili bowl that there are.

-Tim

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Brad from Georgia
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Hey, my book Dragon's Plunder featured a cursed ship commanded by an undead pirate captain, but you don't see me running around all over the place suing people.

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1958Fury
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waffles

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1958Fury
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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
Could be? I bet you a finger in a Wendy's chili bowl that there are.

You can keep the finger, I believe you [Smile]

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Hey, my book Dragon's Plunder featured a cursed ship commanded by an undead pirate captain, but you don't see me running around all over the place suing people.

maybe you should. if it was published before PotC, you might have a case.

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shifty rob
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Brad-
After they sign over the Magic Kingdom to you in settlement, can I spend the night in the castle? Of course, I would want a big ol' stack of mattresses with a pea underneath...

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Brad from Georgia
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Hey, my book Dragon's Plunder featured a cursed ship commanded by an undead pirate captain, but you don't see me running around all over the place suing people.

maybe you should. if it was published before PotC, you might have a case.
It was published in 1992, so there ya go.

--------------------
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NeeCD
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
also, a big corperation like Disney may want this case to "go away" and may settle for a large sum so that it doesn't to to trial - even if Disney is not guilty. Basically, they decide that the cost of settling is less than the cost of fighting the suit.

Tri-Met (Portland's bus company) has that attitude. If a bus has any kind of accident, even if it's empty and returning to the bus-barn, people come out of the woodwork to claim injury. And Tri-Met pays them off because fighting it would cost them more.

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liebeslied
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I think "The Flying Dutchman" story ought to be public domain by now, which I think was Brad's point. Now if one's pirate captain was channeling Keith Richards, one might have a case.
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Chickee Daizy
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I think its pretty suspicious that all the other works the author had copyrighted were registered within a year or two of completion, but he waited 12 years (and until after the movie had come out) to register the Pirates of the Caribbean works. Why would he so diligently copyright everything else he'd written, but not that one thing?

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
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quote:
Originally posted by shifty rob:
Brad-
After they sign over the Magic Kingdom to you in settlement, can I spend the night in the castle? Of course, I would want a big ol' stack of mattresses with a pea underneath...

Starting 1 January, you might get to spend a night in the castle. If Disney randomly chooses you (if you book a vacation in the Year of a Million Dreams celebration)

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Blatherskite
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When I first read the claims I thought 'Oh my God, that's a blatant rip-off!', but after re-reading it I've decided that the similarities aren't actually that striking.

OK, you have three names: Will Turner, Elizabeth and The Black Pearl. But they're just names. The fact that both Wills are blacksmiths and both Elizabeths are govenor's daughters isn't that astonishing. Blacksmith is an obvious choice for a character who is secretly a skilled swordsman and even the Monkey Island series of adventure games had a pirate-y governess called Elaine (Monkey Island also has a cursed undead pirate crew), so could the Elizabeth idea be based on something else to begin with?

'A medallion central to the plot' could mean anything.

Am I pushing it, here? Sorry. I just like Pirates of the Caribbean.

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TrishDaDish
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I think a certain restaurant in Newport, R.I. should sue Disney. This place has been around since the late 60's, so that's before that author's claim on anything.

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The Amazing Rando
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[quotes]That happened on The Twilight Zone with an episode called "Sounds and Silences." Someone had sent Rod Serling a script which was rejected and he forgot all about it. Two years later he wrote basically the same story, which became that episode. The original author sued and the case was settled for about $3500. They then locked up the episode in the vaults and it wasn't shown again until a few years ago.[/quote]

I don't know that this is necessarily an argument that this could have happened in the case of Disney here, but there is a difference between the two. Rod Serling was the major creative force behind the Twilight Zone, but I don't know how likely it is that the people behind Pirates were the same as those who the story was pitched to in 1993.

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Chia
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quote:
Originally posted by Blatherskite:
When I first read the claims I thought 'Oh my God, that's a blatant rip-off!', but after re-reading it I've decided that the similarities aren't actually that striking.

OK, you have three names: Will Turner, Elizabeth and The Black Pearl. But they're just names. The fact that both Wills are blacksmiths and both Elizabeths are govenor's daughters isn't that astonishing. Blacksmith is an obvious choice for a character who is secretly a skilled swordsman and even the Monkey Island series of adventure games had a pirate-y governess called Elaine (Monkey Island also has a cursed undead pirate crew), so could the Elizabeth idea be based on something else to begin with?

'A medallion central to the plot' could mean anything.

Am I pushing it, here? Sorry. I just like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hey, Monkey Island was based on Pirates of the Carrbiean, (the ride). They even had the dog from the ride in the 2nd game!

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vanilla
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quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
I think its pretty suspicious that all the other works the author had copyrighted were registered within a year or two of completion, but he waited 12 years (and until after the movie had come out) to register the Pirates of the Caribbean works. Why would he so diligently copyright everything else he'd written, but not that one thing?

Especially if he is peddling it around to others (including Disney).

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vanilla
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quote:
Originally posted by LemonLimeade:
OT: I wonder how vanilla came to mean 'bland.' Vanilla really isn't bland.

It's true. I am sooo not "bland." I've even been called WILD by some! [lol]

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Chickee Daizy
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I just don't think it's copyright infringement if he didn't get it copyrighted until after the movie came out. It sounds like he is trying to scam Disney to me. Maybe I'm biased though, because I love that movie.

And I have to say that even if he did write it (which I kind of doubt anyway), if he wasn't smart enough to copyright the screenplay until after Disney released the movie, then he wasn't all that bright about it.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
I just don't think it's copyright infringement if he didn't get it copyrighted until after the movie came out. It sounds like he is trying to scam Disney to me. Maybe I'm biased though, because I love that movie.

And I have to say that even if he did write it (which I kind of doubt anyway), if he wasn't smart enough to copyright the screenplay until after Disney released the movie, then he wasn't all that bright about it.

Copyright is automatic. He had the copyright in his script the minute he put words on paper (or electrons into a file). He didn't register the copyright, but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.

Not that I think this guy is likely to prove his case.

Seaboe

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