James Cameron Facing 'Avatar' Lawsuit

James Cameron is facing a lawsuit from an author who alleges the filmmaker stole his idea for blockbuster movie Avatar.

Writer Kelly Van alleges Cameron based the movie, which became the world's highest-grossing film earlier this year, on his online book Sheila the Warrior: The Damned? Cameron insists he's never seen the story, but Van has filed papers alleging both the director and movie studio 20th Century Fox plagiarized his plotline and character details. Van claims the "demeanor," "attire," "motions" and "powers/rituals" of the Na'vi characters, as well as the "settings" and "scenes" are based entirely on her work.

However, a spokesperson for Fox, Chris Petrikin, has slammed the lawsuit, saying in a statement, "It's absolutely baseless. Jim Cameron's treatment for Avatar was written before Ms. Van alleges she even started to write her book."

Cameron reportedly completed Avatar's script in 1998, but Van's attorney Kevin Mirch insists: "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. 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."

In March, a court in China dismissed a lawsuit from writer Zhou Shaomou, who claimed Cameron had copied the plot from his 1997 novel, The Legend of the Blue Crow.

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