Roger Dean sues over movie Avatar

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ar-Pharazon, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I (obviously) love Roger's work AND many of Cameron's films. I have no axe to grind and doubt Roger will win, but he deserved a credit or at least a 'thanks'.

    There are some very direct lifts, not just influences.
     
  2. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I don't know enough about this subject to comment on the merits (my initial thought is it would have to be pretty damn similar to have a valid cause of action). It's also entirely possible he waited too long to bring this claim (I think there's a three year statute of limitations).
     
  3. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    Yes and no. With plagiarism, as long as it's ongoing, as in this case where Avatar is still being shown and sold, the three year 'clock' for the statute wouldn't even have started yet.

    ETA:
    Folks here will remember that Harlan sued Cameron for plagiarism and won.

    Jan
     
  4. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "His betters?" Really?
     
  5. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lots of perfectly smart people don't know anything about copyright law, so calm the hell down.

    As for your glaring bias, one person's "homage" is very often another person's "outright theft." Were you in the room to hear Cameron instructing his artists to take inspiration from Dean's work, along with the look of actual mountains? Did you hear him saying to trace specific shapes and outlines? Or are you taking one litigant's perspective at face value and then some?

    Moreoever, why would Cameron tell his artists to copy Dean's shapes directly, instead of taking inspiration from them and photos of the aforementioned landscapes? Why would he go out of his way in such a manner to open himself up to charges of theft? Because he's a cackling cartoon supervillain?

    "Settling out of court" is not synonymous with "winning" a lawsuit.

    I sense much anger in you.
     
  6. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    It's sure not losing, is it?

    To paraphrase a popular TV show"You sense nothing, Jon Snow."

    Jan
     
  7. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Harlan Ellison won't be allowed to testify. He has nothing relevant to this case.
     
  8. The Naughty List

    The Naughty List Working the Pole Moderator

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    I'd be more sympathetic to Mr. Dean if his demands were more reasonable and commensurate to the alleged damage. I doubt Avatar (and the sequels) is going to hurt sales of his art books. If he had just asked that proper credit be given and some fair monetary compensation, I'd be totally on his side, but $50 million dollars for some artistic inspiration seems excessive, and demanding that the films no longer be distributed or sequels be made unless they completely remove his influence from the designs just seems needlessly vindictive.

    While I don't think Cameron has any malicious intent when he borrows these ideas --because we're all inspired by past works when we come up with any new stories or art-- he really needs to learn to shut the hell up when people ask him direct questions about where the idea came from, because he's his own worst enemy.
     
  9. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you want to have an intelligent discussion, it's best not to say things that aren't true. "Settling out of court" often only necessarily means that someone (in this case, a quick glance at Wikipedia suggests, a Terminator production company, rather than Cameron himself) decided it'd be cheaper and easier to offer an undisclosed sum of "take this and shut up" money than to continue hashing it out with lawyers for however long the litigant decides to draw things out.

    Regardless, your mea culpa is accepted. Moving on...



    I'm sure it's a bargaining tactic, asking for Cameron's life savings in hopes of being tossed a few million in a private settlement down the line, but yeah, it does make him look like a crazy person for putting his name on that request in a public court of law, staffed and operated by public funds.



    What, just because he drew some floating islands at some point? Didn't Dali do that first? And while I understand the implication of "Cameron can afford to make some nice donations to artists who've come before him", wouldn't that a) only encourage many more such frivolous lawsuits ("see, he offered that other guy some dough; he's basically admitting to theft!"), and b) have a chilling effect on artists without Cameron's resources? Should the next novelist who wants to write about supernatural spirits affecting pirates in the 18th century Carribbean area offer to give Disney all prospective profits before he even gets started?
     
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's not only the floating islands but many other visual aspects of Pandora are very reminiscent of Dean's work. In fact, when I first saw Avatar I assumed they used Dean as a consultant. The similarity to his artwork is pretty close.
     
  11. The Naughty List

    The Naughty List Working the Pole Moderator

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    @ Gaith:

    No, it's not about just having the idea for floating mountains, it's about being able to establish that Cameron himself publicly said he drew ideas for Pandora from Dean's Yes album art and that --according to Jan's post-- members of the Avatar production staff have said they were given copies of Dean's work to serve as inspiration for designing Pandora as well. That makes him like a de facto concept artist on the film, and thus deserves proper credit and compensation.

    If there had simply been floating mountains, giant lopsided trees, and colorful dragons in the film and no public acknowledgement that Dean was a muse for the art staff on the film, then he wouldn't have much a of leg to stand on. But that's apparently not all that happened. If you can acknowledge that he inspired your work, you can give credit where credit is due on the final product. I admire Cameron as an artist, but he does seem to have a recurring issue where this is concerned.
     
  12. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No one is disputing Dean was an inspiration, but that doesn't in of itself equate to theft. Lots of recording artists were no doubt inspired by Cher's overt use of auto-tune on "Believe"; is every subsequent T-Pain obligated to give a cut of their own works if they happen to acknowledge a public inspiration? Hasn't Joss Whedon said that Star Wars and Han Solo were significant influences on Firefly? Does that mean he owes ol' George a Maserati?

    Also, the notion of a floating island apparently goes all the way back to Homer. So Dean didn't come up with floating islands, or the tropical look of Pandora's flora, and I have no idea if he even came up with the idea of mixing the two, or if he was "inspired" by other fantasy artists doing similar stuff.

    If Dean wants to market himself or his work as an acknowledged "inspiration to Avatar", surely no one could hold that against him. And maybe he should have gotten a shout-out in the credits or some such, but I'm extremely wary of calling even overt inspiration "theft" in a legal sense.
     
  13. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were also given stuff for inspiration regarding spaceship design, prop design, wildlife and plant design.

    I'm sure they didn't need to compensate NASA and all the wildlife photographers and painters whose pictures they used.

    I'm also sure ILM didn't need to compensate all the architects around the world when they used their work as inspiration for all the buildings in Coruscant in Star Wars.

    If we start compensating everyone when his work acted as inspiration, we're gonna have a bad time.

    Do Orci, Lindelof & Co have to compensate Nicholas Meyer & Co because they were inspired by Spock's death scene to write their own one, and constantly re-use that "The needs of the many" speech and the "I have been and always shall be your friend" phrase, all taken from the script from TWOK? Harlan Ellison would be furious had he written the TWOK script.
     
  14. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    I sincerely hope some of you, one day, will create something and have someone else rip you off and make oodles of money while you squander what's left of your life in relative obscurity and poverty.

    It won't happen, of course, but I still kind of hope it does.

    Because then maybe you'd get why he's doing it.

    I mean, I certainly know Gaith wouldn't have any problem if a new user showed up with the name Gaïth, used a slightly recolored but otherwise identical picture of Oded Fehr, and became a regular poster. They were just inspired by him, afterall. Right?
     
  15. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Paramount are perfectly entitled to reuse material from their own franchise. Meyer was a hired gun, he does not own his script for STII. Last I checked, Cameron did not commission any Yes album covers, or secure the rights to use the imagery in future endeavours.

    What part of this is so hard for you to understand?
     
  16. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    Not to drag this off sideways, but they might very well have had to compensate him, even though he's not credited as a writer for the movie. Hard to tell since much of the dialogue is similar but switched between characters. Similarly, since Khan was a character created by another, there were almost certainly payments to the writers of "Space Seed". It's all part of the WGA contract.

    Jan
     
  17. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    @JarodRussel: unmarked spoilers for a movie still in theaters. Really? :borg:


    I wouldn't, actually; I'd be flattered. That's why we have the phrase "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." After all, I didn't originate either image in my avatar, nor did I create the (Arabic) name "Gaith".


    I take it you're implying that Dean leads a life of "relative obscurity and poverty" in that he should be as rich as Cameron, despite the fact that one of them made a few paintings and the other made a massive multimedia franchise that employs thousands of people in several countries. Totally the same thing?
     
  18. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps they would have to compensate him in line with union rules, but that does not make it in any way an equivalent situation to what is being tallked about here as JarodRussell is suggesting.

    His example is completely inappropriate to the discussion, since Star Trek is Paramount's own entity. They didn't rip anything off anybody, they were entitled to do what they did. If that is indeed what Cameron has done, although I make no comment on that as I wasn't there.
     
  19. The Naughty List

    The Naughty List Working the Pole Moderator

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    Didn't you once take the ridiculous stance that we were advocating copyright infringement here because we told posters not to hotlink images/leech bandwidth and to instead upload the photos to an image host? What a remarkable reversal of opinion you've had since then. It's almost as if nothing you ever say actually has any conviction behind it, and you just say things to play devil's advocate, be argumentative, or try to get a rise out of people.

    NASA is a government entity owned by the people and its imagery is free to use by the public at large.

    Animals are not copyrighted.

    The buildings on Coruscant were designed by Ralph MacQuarrie and later concept artists who were all paid and credited for their work by LucasFilm/20th Century Fox. Can you show a clear connection to where the building designs came from before MacQuarrie drew them, and can you demonstrate Lucas or the designers saying they got the idea for the building designs from somewhere else?

    The makers of STiD have every right to draw on other Paramount owned Star Trek properties as inspiration to make the new film, with the possibility of credit being given and royalties being paid for the writers depending on what their contract stipulations were.

    Any other ridiculous comparisons?
     
  20. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I'm sure you would.

    Especially if someone came around, saw one of your ideas, and offered to buy it for a few million dollars. Except they asked Gaïth instead, because he said something similar in a much later post. Or more appropriate to the comparison, if Gaïth started posting all kinds of vulgar and disgusting things on the forum and instead Gaith was permanently banned in his stead. It's okay though, still just a flattering inspiration, after all.

    If he did it by stealing from him and others, as he often does, then yes.