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Disney’s 20th Century Studios (“DCS”) and Creative Artists Agency (“CAA”) have successfully defended a claim of copyright infringement relating to their 2019 film ‘Ad Astra’. 

Producer and writer Madison Jones, filed a issued proceedings against DCS and CAA on grounds of copyright infringement. Jones claimed CDS & CAA of “ripping off” his 2014 screenplay ‘Cosmic Force’ in their 2019 film. Both storylines feature a main character travelling through space in search of information about a missing father. Ultimately, both storylines discover that their respective fathers ship contains an energy source which is causing a serious threat to the universe. Jones, who acts as the head of de Passe Entertainment, claimed that ideas from his screenplay were utilised in ‘Ad Astra’ after he shared his ideas with agents for CAA.

However, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the works in question were not sufficiently similar to demonstrate copyright infringement, writing that “the general plotline of a protagonist searching for a lost mission that was helmed by their father is not protectable”. It was also noted that there was no proof of communication between Jones and contacts in the CAA and further those who were involved in developing ‘Ad Astra’. Finally, Slaughter also pointed out that the creators of ‘Ad Astra’ completed an outline of the sci-fi film before Jones wrote his screenplay, further demonstrating the absence of copyright infringement in this instance.

A representative for Jones has confirmed that Jones plans to appeal the decision.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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