From 2003 to present day The Walt Disney Company has captivated millions with tales of Pirates of the Caribbean. From The Curse of the Black Pearl to Dead Men Tell No Tales they have taken audiences on fantastic journeys that the park attraction could not. But now according to Deadline, Disney finds itself facing a very expensive copyright lawsuit over the franchise.
According to Deadline, A. Lee Alfred and Ezequeil Martinez Jr. claim that Disney used “copyrighted expression of themes, settings, dialogue, characters, plot, mood, sequence of events from their 2000 spec script entitled Pirates of the Caribbean”. They claim that they had handed the script and sizzle reel to Disney’s Brigham Taylor on August 9, 2000 while they were working with the company on on their Red Hood project that never made it.
They claim that their relationship with Disney deteriorated soon after a copy of their screenplay and artwork was spotted in Taylor’s office, at which point the writers were paid out for their Red Hood work and sent on their way. The complaint states:
“Shortly thereafter, Laiter was informed by Taylor that the Defendants were going to pass on the project due to children being in ‘The Screenplay’, the 25-page filing details. Alfred and Martinez were both on the phone (listening on silent) when Laiter was informed that Defendants were passing on the original spec screenplay and passing on the project”, it notes. “At no point during the conversation did the Defendants state that they had another screenplay already and were moving forward with a Pirates of the Caribbean film project.”
The lawsuit is seeking a wide range of damages, profits and an injunction that would put a halt on all Pirates of the Caribbean films going forward. Disney has responded by saying that “This complaint is entirely without merit, and we look forward to vigorously defending against it in court.” They argue that the plaintiff had just registered, “their original works of authorship with the U.S. Copyright Office on October 3rd, 2017”, without having any explanation as to why it took them so long to notice the copyright infringement or a set of films based on a a ride that first appeared in Disneyland in 1967.
This is not the first, or the last, time The Walt Disney Company will be accused of copyright infringement. We’ll just have to see how this one plays out in the courts going forward. What do you think of these claims? Let us know below!
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