Monday, March 8, 2010

Avatar director James Cameron stands accused of plagiarism by a Chinese author

Sky News reported that Beijing writer Zhou Shaomou claims the screenplay for the 3-D blockbuster

was lifted from his novel, which he put online via a contract when he could not find a publisher.

He told the China Daily he spent seven years writing the 1.2 million-word book. He said: 'Eighty per cent of the plot and the key elements of Avatar are similar to my 1997 science fiction novel Tale of the Blue Crows.'

Shaomou was reportedly unable to file a $146.5 million lawsuit against Cameron in China. The book reportedly tells the tale of the epic journey of six astronauts to a distant planet occupied by blue beings. Zhou said:'I wrote in my novel that their space journey took them six years, but in Cameron's movie the journey takes them five years, nine months and 22 days. I was shocked when I first saw that. It is too close.'

He said he was seeking to file the lawsuit for breach of copyright but had been refused by two Chinese courts. 'I realise that no one knows me in China, but I insist on fighting for my copyright. Over 10 million people have read my book over the internet.'

Of his refusal by the local courts, he said:'Nobody was supportive and many asked why someone as famous as Cameron would copy an obscure work from a little-known author. I really wanted to argue back, 'why not?''

According to a Beijing lawyer, Yang Huipeng, Zhou would have better luck filing his lawsuit in the US.


Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law, KIIT Law School
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, 751024.
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