'Pirates of the Caribbean' studio sued for plagiarism

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The Independent Culture

Where there's a hit, goes the cliché, there's a writ. The latest is flying in the direction of the box-office record-breaking sequel to the Hollywood blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Thousands of cinema goers will be queuing this weekend to watch the film featuring Brit beauty Keira Knightley, entitled, shrewdly, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It has already topped the US box offices taking $135.6m (£73.7m) in its opening weekend.

It is prize booty for filmmakers Disney, but before they can enjoy the loot they will have to face a legal suit claiming that the idea was stolen from screenwriter Royce Mathew.

Mr Mathew alleges that he not only created and wrote the "supernatural pirate movie" screenplay, but he filed his work with the US Copyright Office before he introduced the idea to Hollywood in the 1980s.

His lawsuit names Hollywood executive Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of the pound blockbuster. Mr Mathew says that his original plans included drawings of a boat named the Black Pearl, the name of the ship in Pirates of the Caribbean.

He is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against the movie franchise and related "infringing works".

Disney and distributors Buena Vista said the action had "no merit".