AceShowbiz - Disney has been slapped with copyright lawsuit over "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Deadline has reported that the Mouse House is being sued by a pair of Colorado screenwriters, A. Lee Alfred II and Ezequiel Martinez Jr., who allege that the company stole their idea from a 2000 spec script they wrote titled "Pirates of the Caribbean".
In the suit filed in federal court in Colorado on Tuesday, November 14, the writers allege Disney committed "willful infringement of Plaintiff's original copyrighted expression of themes, settings, dialogue, characters, plot, mood [and] sequence of events" contained in the original spec screenplay.
The two writers, along with their producer Tova Laiter, claim they had submitted their script while working closely with Disney's Brigham Taylor, Josh Harmon and Michael Haynes on the never-made "Red Hood" film project. However, the relationship with the studio soured, with the pair being paid for their work on "Red Hood" after a copy of the screenplay and original artwork was allegedly seen on a coffee table in Taylor's office.
The suit alleges that Laiter was later told by Taylor that Disney would be passing on the project. The claim adds that the screenplay wasn't returned until more than two years later, at which point "Defendants were already in production on the first 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film." The initial "Pirates" film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl", contains "similarities" to the spec screenplay, the suit says, and the "similarities have continued throughout the entire 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise."
In response to the lawsuit over the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced five-film series, which were based on the theme park ride that first appeared at Disneyland in 1967, Disney said, "This complaint is entirely without merit, and we look forward to vigorously defending against it in court."
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs, having just registered "their original works of authorship with the U.S. Copyright Office on October 3rd," do not offer any explanation as to why it took them nearly two decades to recognize a copyright infringement.