New turn in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” lawsuit

All the fans of Pirates of the Caribbean pay your attention here as we are here with a new update on its case. Disney recently tried to sink a lawsuit over the globally recognized Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but the same was scuttled by a California Federal Judge Marshall.

The origin of this lawsuit traces its origin in November 2017 when  Lee Alfred II and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. sued Disney over this franchise. The duo claimed their spec script defied pirate topes with the character of Davy Jones being funny instead of fearsome, and their work was plundered to great extent during the creation of Jack Sparrow after their producer sent it to Disney.

Disney tasted the flavor of defeat in May 2019 when District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall granted its motion to dismiss after making observations of the existing similar elements between the 2000 spec and 2003 film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl that was at large of unprotected generic pirate fare. Then the matter was revived in the month of July of 2020 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals. However, the Circuit Court also found that the screenplay shared sufficient similarities with the film to survive a motion to dismiss.

But the appeals court observed that it was premature to definitively determine the similar elements as un-protectable for which taking help of additional evidence and expert testimony was appreciated. The court stated the opinion, “This would be particularly useful in this circumstance, where the works in question are almost twenty years old and the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise may itself have shaped what is now considered pirate-movie tropes.”

Disney was represented before the court by attorneys Alfred and Martinez. They also filed an amended complaint recently asking for summary judgment which was vehemently denied by Marshall due to the conflicting testimonies of experts. Disney sees me arguing that the writers' expert was unfamiliar with the pirate genre and the legal analysis based upon which the substantial evaluation of similarity is done. Marshall, on this, noted, “These arguments go to the weight of Plaintiffs’ expert report, and the Court cannot weigh evidence on summary judgment.”

“Plaintiffs’ expert opines that the parties’ works are substantially similar and have original elements in common, whereas Defendant’s expert opines that the parties’ works are not substantially similar and common elements in the parties’ works are common in the pirate genre generally,” writes Marshall in the order. “The opinions from the parties’ experts thus creates a genuine issue of material fact in dispute regarding whether the works are substantially similar.”