Copy cats! The claws are out
James Cameron is the latest artist to be accused of plagiarism
Sunday 17 January 2010
Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery. If, however, you've sweated blood building a highly lucrative empire based on the fruits of your own imagination, you could be forgiven for thinking that imitation is the boldest form of rip-off.
Accusations of plagiarism have abounded recently. The latest features a potentially devastating claim that James Cameron's blockbusting tale of blue aliens, Avatar, had been stolen from a series of best-selling Russian novels called Noon Universe. The first Noon Universe novel, written by the brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, appeared in the 1960s and was translated into English in 1978.
Noon Universe fans in Russia – where Avatar is a smash hit – point out that both tales take place on a planet called Pandora in the 22nd century; and while Cameron's aliens are called the Na'vi, the Strugatskys' are called the Nave. "The Americans have borrowed our idea – it's very unpleasant. But I won't take them to court. Or shall I?", Boris Strugatsky (his brother died in 1991) was reported as saying.
Cameron vehemently rejects the claims, pointing out that he has been planning Avatar since at least 1996, when the first draft was written. "Mr Cameron has been working on the story for Avatar for at least 14 years and is well known for his original version," his spokesman said.
Strugatsky has since denied making any plagiarism allegations, but the episode shows that in the age of the internet even the most casual coincidence will be found out by obsessive fans.
And, given the lure of the millions of dollars now being made by Hollywood blockbusters or publishing sensations such as the Harry Potter films or The Da Vinci Code, there's an ever- increasing likelihood of a writ from a previously obscure artist crying foul.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 5 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Britain's Got Talent producers apologise for not making Matisse dog double stunt 'clearer'
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Jules and Matisse used secret dog double for winning tightrope act
Netflix is testing out adverts
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9: 'The Dance of Dragons' sees Jon Snow return to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: 90 viewers complain to Ofcom about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing' dresses
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers