Roger Dean sues over movie Avatar

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

  1. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And that's exactly the case and why Google.com got into problems with its image search. Thumbnails are okay, because they are under fair use. You can't take away an image from someone else and store it on your own server. That is indeed copyright infringement. Inline Linking (or Hotlinking) is not a violation of copyright. That's how it is, you can disagree with it all you want, but in that case you are definitely wrong. Read up Perfect 10, Inc. vs Google Inc.


    I also advocated a different copyright law where everyone gets compensated for a reuse of his work. Let's say a Trek movie gets made out one of Greg Cox' Trek tie in novels. He should be compensated and credited as a writer if they do, even though he was just "a hired gun". If you create a 3D model of the TMP Enterprise in your spare time, upload it to the Interblag, and ILM downloads it and uses it in their films, you should be compensated for that since you did the work.

    But if the novel only serves as inspiration for something, he doesn't need to be compensated. If something justs ends up being used in a big collage of inspirational photographs, paintings and drawings during PRE PRODUCTION to create new artwork, then there is no need for compensation.

    So the government voluntarily disclaims any need for compensation. Everyone could do the same if they chose to do so, including guys like Roger Dean. If NASA was a private organization that insisted on getting compensated for the use of their photographs and imagery, what then? So that argument is beside the point.

    But photographs, drawings and paintings made of animals are.
    What if you take a painting of an animal for inspiration out of a book? Someone painted it, the publisher released it, surely the painter or publisher needs to be compensated because you used his book as inspiration for your billion dollar box office smash hit. See where I'm getting at? It's not ridiculous at all.

    McQuarrie surely collected a bunch of photographs, drawings, blueprints of buildings before he did all his concept art sketches. Every artist has an archive of inspirational work made by others.
    So yes, certainly you can make that connection.
    And I do think you can spot a couple of real world buildings in Coruscant in some scenes, like Burj Dubai. Did they credit and compensate the architect?



    Want to get personal again? Do you have anger management problems? You ALWAYS do that when you argue with people. Stop that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  2. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Meyer likely falls under that thing where if someone "creates" while working for the company, that creation is automatically property of the company.

    Especially if he signed something to that effect.
     
  3. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mister. How many times must we go over this? Ideas can't be bought, sold, or copyrighted.


    How on Earth is that "more appropriate to the comparison"? Did I miss the Avatar scene in which Neytiri said that that Company employee Rodger Deen (note the subtly different name) was a sodomizer of six-legged-pigs? :rommie:
     
  4. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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    We're not talking about words on the page or musical notes where it's easier to show direct plagiarism, we're talking about design, where it's much more subtle and difficult to prove.

    If it were as simple as two different artists having the idea for floating mountains spontaneously (which has happened multiple times), that wouldn't be sufficient to demand credit and compensation. But if you can show a consistent similarity in design style, from the floating mountains, the city-sized leaning trees, the colorful dragons being ridden as beasts of burden, and the arching rocks (all of which Dean can show), and you can establish through direct quotes from Cameron and the production designers that they got the ideas from your works (which apparently he can show too), than how is that any different from you essentially serving as a concept artist on the film without receiving any credit or compensation?

    No shit. He doesn't choose to do so, which is wholly his right.

    It was YOUR argument. If it's besides the point, don't make it.

    If NASA was a private organization, than yeah, you'd have to pay them for the rights to use their imagery in a film. Pardon the pun, but this is not rocket science.

    If it was something like basing a CGI galaxy in a movie off of a picture of a real galaxy they took, then no, that wouldn't count, because you can't copyright the appearance of real galaxies.

    Yes, it's completely ridiculous, because you can't copyright a gazelle that just looks like a normal gazelle. But if there was something unique about the way you depicted the gazelle, and if that design style was repeated throughout your works, and if another artist borrowed that specific design style repeatedly, and if that artist publicly acknowledged that he borrowed your designs, then yes, you might very well be qualified to receive a credit and compensation.

    You think they ripped off the design of a building that didn't even begin construction until five of the six Star Wars movies were already released and the sixth was already well into filming and way past the concept art stage? Did Ralph MacQuarrie time travel into the future from when he designed Coruscant in the late 70s? Did the later artists time jump from the mid to late-90s when they added Coruscant to RoTJ and showed it extensively in The Phantom Menace?

    Having a really tall pointy building doesn't mean it was based on Burj Khalifa, especially since really tall pointy buildings were in MacQuarrie's art from way back in the late 70s. Now, if you could show that the concept artists took a whole series of building designs from the same architectural firm with no compelling reason to use them (for instance, you can't claim infringement if someone uses the Empire State Building in a CGI depiction of New York), and then you had documented proof from interviews and publications where they acknowledged using them, you could make a case for receiving credit and compensation.

    Just people who I feel are jerking myself and others around and purposely missing the point. I'm not a big fan of that.
     
  5. wildstar

    wildstar Commander Red Shirt

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  6. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Here are some mountains in Zhangjiajie, China:

    [​IMG]
    [LEFT]
    [/LEFT]


    And here are some floating mountains from Avatar:

    [​IMG]


    They look pretty much identical to me, except that the movie islands are floating - an idea which is, again, thousands of years old.

    So, again: Roger Dean was ripped off in the Avatar film... how? :vulcan:
     
  7. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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  8. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You really don't understand it. You can't copyright the gazelle, true. But photographs, paintings and drawings of it are copyrighted. You can't copyright a tree or a rock, but you can copyright a photograph, painting or drawing of it.

    Ironically, that's why Dean can even try to make his case. He didn't invent the concept of floating mountains or alien birds or alien trees. His case is based on that they copied his WORK, which is his paintings and drawings OF those things.

    If the court thinks the images in the film look too similar to his own images, then so be it. Then they didn't get INSPIRED by it, they COPIED it.

    Again, work used for inspiration should not be needed to be compensated or credited.
     
  9. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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    No, you really don't understand. If you use someone's wildlife photograph, painting, or CGI model of an animal directly in a film, then you have to credit and compensate them for it.

    But if the artist simply painted a gazelle, with no unique characteristics to it whatsoever to distinguish it from any other real life gazelle, and you also used a gazelle in your film with nothing distinctive about it, what basis would the artist have to sue you for infringement? How do you prove that that's based on your gazelle and not just any other gazelle taken from real life?

    So your entire basis for arguing in this thread has been a stupid semantic difference between "inspired" and "copied"? This is why I get so fed up dealing with you.

    Look at the comparison picture I made above. It's not just a few similarities that any two artists could have arrived at randomly. There are:

    - Floating mountains and islands
    - Floating mountains with waterfalls
    - Twisted moss covered natural bridges
    - Giant city sized and normal sized lopsided trees with wide foliage
    - Smaller blue dragons with bifurcated wings
    - Larger orange dragons with bifurcated wings
    - Groups of multiple massive rock arches looping over each other
    - Weird horse-like creatures
    - Groups of large stepped waterfalls
    - Misty jungles
    - Large pointy stalagmite-like mountains (non-floating)

    You could find some of those individual features on Earth. But taken in totality with the exotic alien-like landscapes and creatures, it becomes pretty hard to say that all of those similarities are simply coincidental.

    So, call it what you will, inspired, copied, whatever. The bottom line is, it looks pretty clear to me from the circumstantial evidence of the numerous similarities that they borrowed heavily from Roger Dean's work without even acknowledging his contribution to the production design of the film. It would be like Alien and Aliens using extremely similar designs to HR Giger's biomechanical art without crediting him, when it's such an extensive and influential part of creating the world of those films.

    Then, moving beyond the circumstantial evidence, you have more direct evidence in the form of Cameron saying that they got the designs from some of Roger Dean's Yes album cover art. And you have the production designers saying they borrowed from Dean as well.
     
  10. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ Actually, your side-by-side comparisons make me more certain Roger has a case.

    Whether or not it gets him 50 million and a massive recall of the original movie would remain to be seen.
     
  11. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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    Yeah, he's overreaching with that big time, but it's possibly just a bargaining ploy to arrive at a higher settlement, if indeed things get that far.

    I certainly think he deserves having a credit added to any future releases of the film and to be compensated for the use of his design style, possibly through a lump sum monetary settlement and/or royalties on any future releases (the latter is less likely).
     
  12. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pardon my ditching the quote box...

    - Floating mountains and islands
    Floating mountains are islands by definition.

    - Floating mountains with waterfalls
    One tends to find more waterfalls on mountains than on plains.

    - Twisted moss covered natural bridges
    Moss tends to happen near waterfalls...

    - Giant city sized and normal sized lopsided trees with wide foliage
    They both look like bonsai trees blown up to large sizes to moi...

    - Smaller blue dragons with bifurcated wings
    That both look a whole lot like dragonflies...

    - Larger orange dragons with bifurcated wings

    Sorta like orange dragonflies...

    - Groups of multiple massive rock arches looping over each other
    I'll give you that the rock arches look identical... but I'm really not comfortable with saying a rock shape that simple can be copyrighted.

    - Weird horse-like creatures
    This goes back thousands of years also...

    - Groups of large stepped waterfalls
    Many naturally occurring waterfalls are grouped together.

    - Misty jungles
    As opposed to arid, desert ones? :rommie:

    - Large pointy stalagmite-like mountains (non-floating)
    ... Which look pretty much exactly like the ones in China...


    ... You get the idea: most of these similarities could absolutely have been arrived at naturally with a prompt to design a "spacey, lush alien jungle with flying mountains and vaguely insect-like dragons."

    Avatar was indeed inspired by Dean's work, which was itself deeply, deeply generic. If Dean had drawn, say, waterfalls of orange water, under green skies with the occasional black-and-white rainbow, surrounded by jungles of cactus-looking plants, and Avatar had ripped that off, I might be more sympathetic. Ditto if Avatar's blue dragon had had humanoid hands and legs as in Dean's drawing, instead of looking like, uh, dragons.

    And I'm still waiting to hear from a neutral expert source (i.e., someone who doesn't have a history of suing Cameron himself) that Dean came up with anything significantly different from what other fantasy artists of his time or before had come up with. Just because Dean did lots of this stuff before Cameron doesn't mean he didn't rip off his peers/older pulp magazine illustrations in turn.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    You know I can't help put feel I've seen scenes like the ones depicted in Avatar in plenty of other media. Moss covered bridges etc...
     
  14. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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    That you're incredibly disingenuous even in the face of overwhelming evidence? Yeah, it's quite apparent.
     
  15. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Dean's work was anything but generic—quite the opposite, in fact—and it was immediately apparent, when the first footage from Avatar was released, that someone involved in designing the look of the film (if not several someones) had been using Dean's work as a model. There really was no mistaking it.
     
  16. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, dude, I have been making that "stupid" distinction since my first post in this thread. But apparently you don't read well enough and instead decided to stir shit up for the heck of it. The semantic difference isn't stupid, it's very important.

    And as long as you continue to call everyone's opinion you disagree with "stupid", and start to get personal with everyone you disagree with... (you don't only do this with me, you do it with almost everyone here all across the message boards), I see no point in discussing with you ever again.

    But then again, it always seems to be your heart attack, not mine. Get a hobby, a punching bag or something. Or change your green name to Locutus of Angry or something.
     
  17. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    O/T One of the best artists of the fantastic was David Egge, who did a wonderful painting of the inside of a Dyson Megasphere--Science 84 I think
     
  18. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really.

    Ellison and Dean are probably more creative and original before they have their coffee in the morning than Cameron is all damned day. (Side note: Would love to see an Ellison story illustrated by Dean)

    And, beside which, Avatar was a much better movie when it was Lawrence of Arabia, Dances With Wolves, and The Last Samurai. (And probably half a dozen other movies and TV shows I can't think off off the top of my head right now with essentially the same plot-line.)

    IMO. YMMV.
     
  19. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored BRexiting the Briefing Room Moderator

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    You're entitled to your opinion, but I don't think that's very fair. Cameron is obviously a very creative, intelligent, and passionate filmmaker, I just think he sometimes has a bit of an issue of borrowing concepts from other artists and writers (which is fine) without giving them the proper credit and compensation at the time the film is made (not so fine).

    While Cameron can certainly have an inflated ego at times, Ellison is no slouch in that department either. I can understand being upset with a filmmaker that borrows from you and others without proper recognition, but arrogant and elitist terms like "his betters" really rub me the wrong way.
     
  20. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not counting Star Wars which has a category of it's own, Cameron made my two favourite sci-fi movies - Terminator and Aliens. He may or may not be an original talent, but he has made some fantastic films.

    Roger Deans artwork is well known and distinctive. There are many ideas details included in his artistic style. While many of them may not be completely unique to his work, enough of them put together in the way that he does IS a violation of his copyright.

    Put it this way, all of the words may be in common usage but if you arranged them into a novel about the war hero son of a mafia boss reluctantly taking over the family business after the murder of his elder brother, you'd have a problem...