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Movie Scribe Seeks Piece of Pirates’ Booty

kiera2.jpgFurther proof that no ridiculously successful movie is not without its subsequent lawsuit, a purported screenwriter has brought a copyright infringement suit against the Walt Disney company and Jerry Bruckheimer, alleging that the studio stole his ideas for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Royce Mathew is claiming that he secured copyright protection in 1980 on a script he so-cleverly called Supernatural Pirate Movie and updated the registration in 1993 with drawings and characters that allegedly bore resemblance to those in the Disney film. Mathew also says that he called his ship “The Black Pearl,” and had an original design for the medallion which played central in Pirates. His script also had a character named “Elizabeth” who fell in love with a “Will Turner.” Mathew claims that, in 1991 and 1995, he left his script and drawings with employees at Disney hoping to get it greenlit, but was rejected each time. Mathew is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction prohibiting the defendants from publicly displaying the movie.

A Disney spokesperson claimed the suit is without merit.

Not included in the lawsuit, however, was a stick-figure drawing Mathew made of the movie’s heroine, which had a striking resemblance to Kiera Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann, though Knightley had to put on a few pounds to play the role.