Connect with us
A cinema auditorium full of people looking towards a screen A cinema auditorium full of people looking towards a screen


8 Films That Were Accused of Copyright Infringement



The film industry is immense, making billions of pounds every year by creating stories that are loved across the globe. There are so many films being produced that it is not surprising that so many of them require the assistance of copyright infringement lawyers.

In fact, some of the world’s most popular movies have been accused of stealing ideas from other writers, musicians, artists, and organisations.

In this post we shall take a look at eight films that have been accused of copyright infringement and why.

1.   Zootopia

Zootopia was created by Walt Disney Animation Studios and was wildly popular upon its release in 2016. However, the film quickly became tangled in a legal dispute regarding copyright infringement.

In 2017, Gary L. Goldman made a copyright claim stating that Disney had stolen the idea for Zootopia from his unfinished film Looney. Goldman had delivered a pitch for his unmade live action film to Disney in 2000, and claims that they took the setting, character archetypes, themes and even the movie name from his work.

In the end the Judge decided to reject Goldmans claims, as the comparisons between his work and Zootopia were just too small.

2.   The Fifth Element

This 1997 film was a box-office smash and quickly rose is popularity. Unfortunately, a copyright infringement claim was soon made by Jean Giraud, a talented artist, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, a French film maker and comic book writer.

Giraud and Jodorowsky believed that The Fifth Element ripped off their comic book series The Incal. However, although the Judge did find small similarities between the works, the claim was dropped. This was because Giraud had worked on concept designs for The Fifth Element, so some similarities could be expected.

A person holding a movie clapperboard

3.   Django Unchained

A copyright infringement claim was made against Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, by Oscar Colvin Jr and Torrance J. Colvin.

They claimed that the script of Django Unchained contained a lot of material taken from Freedom, a film screenplay they were producing.  The Colvin’s fought in a two-year lawsuit, demanding $100 million in compensation, however the case was dismissed when plagiarism could not be proven.

4.   The Island

Another massively popular film The Island, was accused of copying aspects of a 1979 film called Parts: The Clonus Horror.

DreamWorks the studio that produced The Island, ended up paying a substantial settlement in order to prevent the lawsuit from going to court. They claim this was to prevent bad publicity for the 2005 film.

5.   The Matrix

Everyone has heard of the Matrix but this film has been accused of copyright infringement several times.

The first was by a women named Sophie Stewart who claimed that ideas for the Matrix had been stolen from her work The Third Eye after responding to an advert made by the directors and writers of the Matrix, the Wachowskis.

Eventually, Stewart did manage to claim $300,000 in attorney fees but the case was dismissed.

The second copyrights claim against the Matrix was done by Thomas Althouse who believed it had been stolen from his scrip, the Immortals. However, this too was dismissed due to a lack of evidence or similarities between the works.

6.   Avatar

Avatar broke record with its release in 2010 when it became known as the highest-grossing movie in the world, a title it kept until Avengers Endgame was released nine years later.

The famous film, however, was accused of copyright infringement by Roger Dean. An artist who claimed his work was plagiarized within the film. Dean attempted to claim $50 million in damages, but the court eventually dismissed the claim.

Avatar has been subject to a number of other copyright infringement claims, though none have been successful.

7.   Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Disney, the creators of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, where forced to go to court twice with Royce Mathew, who claimed they had stolen his ideas.

The author’s first attempt to make a copyright infringement claim was unsuccessful. However, he hired a new attorney and made a second claim in 2013, believing that the original artwork and story idea were copied from his work.

A camera with an image on it's screen

8.   Finding Nemo

The hugely successful film Finding Nemo made a massive impression on audiences across the world. However, a children’s author named Franck Le Calvez decided to sue both Disney and Pixar, claiming that the idea behind finding Nemo had been taken from his book Pierrot Le Poisson Clown.

It was eventually discovered that Calvez’s book had been released after Finding Nemo and he was convicted of fraud and fined for damages.

Being Accused of Copyright Infringement…

Overall, it’s clear that many popular films have been accused of copyright infringement, though few had enough evidence to win the case in court.

Many of these accusations came from individuals who believed that their ideas had been stolen after pitching their work to the company years before, such as Zootopia and the Matrix.

However, others like Franck Le Calvez, targeted these massively popular films in the hopes of making some money from the claim.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes
only. For more information regarding copyright laws please contact a copyright infringement solicitor. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.



Just For You