Contributed by: Marissa Chok
Two individuals, Alfred and Martinez, recently brought a suit against Disney for copying themes, settings, dialogues, characters and sequences of events from a script they wrote in 2000 entitled ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. Alfred and Martinez allege that Disney have intentionally copied and commercially exploited their work in order to create the well-known ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise without giving them any form of compensation or credit.
Another interesting suit in the entertainment industry (unrelated to the above) is the copyright challenge against Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” lyrics. R&B artiste 3LW argues that Swift copied the chorus from their song “Playas Gon’ Play” (“Playas they gon’ play, and haters they gonna hate”) in her well-known single “Shake It Off”.
A successful copyright infringement claim is contingent on evidence of copying of the form of expression of a particular work. Thus, a copyright infringement claim cannot succeed against a person who has independently created something, even if his creation is similar or identical to the copyright work. This is one of the reasons why copyright claims in the entertainment industry, although common, do not always succeed.
Check out the links below if you’re interested to find out more!