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James Cameron says sci-fi author’s ‘Avatar’ lift-off claims are ‘baseless’

Posted on: May 20, 2010

James Cameron has said that a sci-fi author”s lawsuit against him alleging that he lifted ideas for ‘Avatar’ from her book is completely ‘baseless’.

Kelly Van, who penned ‘Sheila the Warrior: The Damned’ is suing Cameron for allegedly stealing the idea for ‘Avatar’.

The book has only been published online and Cameron has claimed that he”s never even seen it.

But this has not deterred the author, who, in court papers, has claimed that Cameron and 20th Century Fox ripped off everything, from her plot to her characters – specifically their “physique” (in perhaps her strongest argument, her characters are blue with yellow eyes), “demeanor,” “attire,” “emotions” and “powers/rituals.”

She added that Cameron”s “settings” and “scenes” belong to her as well.

In Van”s sci-fi tome, characters travel to a mystical place called “Tibet,” “where food tastes better than you can imagine” and “the concept of ”killing” is foreign.”

And the plot sees bad-guy inhabitants called “bloodsuckers” attempting to overthrow the Tibetan peace—quite reminiscent of Cameron’s ‘Avatar’.

However, the filmmaker is unperturbed by the lawsuit.

“It”s absolutely baseless. Jim Cameron”s treatment for ”Avatar” was written before Ms. Van alleges she even started to write her book,” the New York Daily News quoted Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for Fox, as saying.

A source at the studio said that Cameron submitted a completed scriptment in 1998— a claim that Van”s attorney, Kevin Mirch, disputes.

“We did a lot of research, and the copyright says ”Avatar” was copyrighted on April 1 of 2007. The date of [Van”s] creation was in 2000, and it was published on the Internet in 2003,” he said.

“”Avatar” was done much later. It”s just contrary to what they said to us – which they did in a very rude manner. [Cameron”s] lawyer wrote us a letter saying they would go after our law firm and our client if it wasn”t dismissed immediately. To have letters that say they”re going to sue us and they”re going to bankrupt us is bad business,” added Mirch.

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