Does anybody have a definition of intellectual property? Would it's theft just be constituted by using an idea's specific expression, and not the idea itself? Plots and premises can't be stolen? as there are no new plots or premises? that seems awefully short sighted to me. Harlan had a good case against 'In time' but not 'Terminator' it seems to me. Was 'All Good Things' a homage or a rip off of Vonnegut's 'Slaughter House Five'? Beethoven used the same melody for one of his most popular overtures as a Mozart violin concerto. Obviously everyone's expression is going to be different. The same ideas can be done from different angles and perspectives and directions/approaches just as some trek ideas were done over and over again from head to tail as it were but where does derivitive rights end and stealing begin?
It's not the plots, but the similarity in details. Yes, you can write a movie about stolen time as a currency, but if too many of your ideas in the script coincide with someone elses story, it will get a closer look. Yes, some things may seem obvious in a certain type of story, but it will not be looked upon favorably if someone got there first.