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James Cameron’s 2009 hit Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time and has also been the subject of more than one lawsuit against the Titanic director. Cameron has been sued multiple times for plagiarizing the idea and in one case, a judge has ruled in his favor.
On Tuesday, a California federal court judge dismissed visual effects artist Gerald Morawski’s claim that Cameron stole the idea from him, after he sold Cameron concept art for a film he hoped to make based on a story by William Gibson. According to The Wrap, Judge Margaret Morrow said that “clear, undisputed evidence shows Cameron independently created Avatar and did not use Morawski's ideas.”
Morawski claimed that he pitched Cameron Guardians of Eden and, rather than acknowledge his work, Cameron just took ideas from it and adapted it for Avatar. Morawski said that he was entitled to damages and lost profits.
In a statement to Variety, Cameron applauded the court’s decision. "It is a sad reality of our business that whenever there is a successful film, people come out of the woodwork claiming that their ideas were used,” the director said. “Avatar was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. I am grateful that the Court saw through the blatant falsity of Mr. Morawski's claim.”
Back in December 2011, a science fiction fan also sued Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, claiming that Cameron stole the idea from him.
Cameron is currently planning two sequels to Avatar.