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Is it hard to prove intellectual property infringement?

Whether it is a big business move, an invention, a book idea or a movie plot, no one likes to see someone else using their idea and then taking credit for it. It is even worse when they make money off of it -- money that should have rightly been yours.

The movie business is common ground for complaints of intellectual property infringement. Many popular films have been the subjects of intellectual property lawsuits. You may be familiar with some of them: "The Matrix," "The Cabin in the Woods," "Avatar," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Finding Nemo," "The Hangover: Part II," "Cars," "Titanic," and "Frozen," just to name a few.

The lawsuits filed against the film makers for these movies were mostly claims that ideas or story lines had been stolen. However, artwork was claimed to have been plagiarized in "Avatar." In "The Hangover: Part II," there were many lawsuits filed, including one by a tattoo artist claiming that the mark on Ed Helm's face was from a tattoo he had created on boxer Mike Tyson's face.

Very few of the cases in the lawsuits filed against the films listed above actually won their cases. Litigating intellectual property cases is difficult because ideas or stories can be broadened and transformed, making them almost unrecognizable except for a few small similarities. "Frozen" is one of the exceptions, where a judge found the trailer to be very similar to a short animated film created by another film maker. In addition, employees who worked on the making of "Frozen" were found to have attended a screening for the other short film.

When similarities are blatant, it is much easier to litigate infringement of intellectual property. If you believe you have an intellectual property case, present the details to your attorney and let him or her help you decide if your case is strong enough to file a claim. These types of lawsuits can be very expensive and time-consuming, so you want to have the right information if you decide to pursue your case.

Source: Ranker, "21 Films Accused of Copyright Infringement," Matthew Cole Weiss, accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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