A federal appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a lawsuit filed by two screenwriters and a producer against Walt Disney Co. in connection with his film Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl .  Screenwriters A. Lee Alfred II and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. accused in their complaint that they had developed the original spec script Pirates of the Caribbean in 2000 while working with Disney on another project but were told that the company was passing on the Pirates project, according to the complaint Arthur Lee Alfred II; et al. v. Walt Disney Co .; et al.
The 2003 film became the first in a series of Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Screenwriter and producer Tova Laiter filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accusing it of copyright infringement. The district court dismissed the trial and it was reinstated by a unanimous appellate court with three judges, who declared that the dismissal was premature.
"At the trial stage, district courts apply the 'extrinsic test' for similarity, which asks whether the defendant's work shares objective similarities between specific expressive elements and the alleged infringement," the decision said.
"We agree with the plaintiffs that the script shares sufficiently similarities with the film to survive a proposal to be rejected, ”it said.
” Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl The film and the script both begin with a prologue that takes place ten years before the head; introduce the main characters during a battle with weapons; involve tax stories that take place on islands and in jewel-archived caves; include past stories of betrayal of a former first wife; contain frightening moments driven by skeletal crews; focus on the redemption of a young, frivolous private and share certain similarities in dialogue and tone, "it said.
" Sure, there are striking differences between the two works as well ̵
The panel said that the lower court dismissed the lawsuit because it concluded that many of the elements in the two works "are protected generic, pirate-movie tropes. But at this stage of the litigation, it is difficult to know whether such elements are really unprotected material.
Lawyers in the case could not be reached for comment.
Last month, the 9th Circuit also found that a Los Angeles court's dismissal of a copyright infringement case against a Walt Disney Co. unit in connection with the Oscar-winning film "The Shape of Water" was premature.