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Copyright infringement suit filed over 'Pirates of Caribbean'

Sacramento readers no doubt are familiar with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. It's one of Disney's most popular and lucrative film series and re-ignited the career of its star Johnny Depp.

If a Florida author is to be believed, however, Disney ripped off a central idea for the films from his own work. The author has filed a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement.

The author sued Disney in 2005, shortly after the release of the first film. He claimed that Disney stole the idea of pirates turning into skeletons under moonlight, a special effect that is central to "Pirates of the Caribbean."

After a long and drawn-out process, Disney and the author reached a settlement.

This time, however, the author claims that Disney used "false and fraudulent" evidence to get him to agree to a settlement. His basis for the claim is that since he reached a settlement with Disney, the company has attributed initial artwork of the skeleton/moonlight concept to two different artists. To him, that means neither artist actually created the concept; Disney actually stole it from him and is attributing it to its artists willy-nilly to cover its tracks.

The author is also suing Buena Vista, which participated in the production of the films, and Jerry Bruckheimer, who directed some of the movies.

There is no doubt this author faces an uphill battle since he previously settled with Disney, since it will be hard for him to explain why that settlement should be disregarded. That being said, he should be commended for having the courage of his convictions, if nothing else.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Disney Sued for Billions Over 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Films," Eriq Gardner, May 30, 2013

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