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Disney's 20th Century Studios fends off 'Ad Astra' copyright lawsuit

Post Time:2023-11-30 Source:Reuters Author:Blake Brittain Views:

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Disney's (DIS.N) 20th Century Studios and talent agency Creative Artists Agency have defeated a copyright lawsuit from producer and writer Madison Jones, who accused them of ripping off his screenplay with the 2019 sci-fi film "Ad Astra".

U.S. District Judge Fred Slaughter said on Tuesday that Jones could not show that the makers of "Ad Astra" had access to his screenplay "Cosmic Force" and that the works were not similar enough to show copyright infringement.

Jones' attorney Peter Ticktin said on Wednesday that they plan to appeal the decision.

Representatives for Disney and CAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Jones, who co-chairs de Passe Jones Entertainment with producer Suzanne de Passe, sued Disney and CAA in 2021. He alleged that "Ad Astra" copied elements of the 2014 screenplay, which he said he shared with CAA and 20th Century representatives, including its "entire central storyline."

"Cosmic Force," like "Ad Astra," is about a soldier who leads a mission to the edge of the solar system to learn the truth about his missing astronaut father and discovers an alien energy source on his father's ship that threatens the universe, according to the lawsuit.

Slaughter said on Tuesday that no reasonable jury could find "Ad Astra" was substantially similar to "Cosmic Force," noting "significant differences" in their "plot, themes, dialogue, mood, setting, pace, characters, and sequence of events."

"Although Cosmic Force and Ad Astra both involve protagonists journeying to outer space to search for lost missions helmed by their respective fathers, the court concludes that the similarities between the two works ends there," Slaughter said.

Slaughter also noted that the writers of "Ad Astra" finished a draft screenplay and outline of the film before Jones wrote "Cosmic Force." The judge also said that Jones did not share his screenplay with anyone involved in making "Ad Astra," and that there was no evidence that it was shared with anyone who worked on the movie.

The case is Jones v. 20th Century Studios Inc, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-05890.