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September 14 2015

Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard & Lionsgate get $10M 'Cabin In The Woods' suit tossed. Finally.

I was wondering about this case yesterday when I read the article about Drew and a potential Cabin II.
(Nice to hear it's all resolved, as even a brief skim read of parts of the book was enough to tell me that there was nothing close to substance in the author's claims.)
I love these bits from the judge:

"The few alleged similarities that are not grossly misstated"

and

"the list of random similarities"

Basically, the judge was annoyed that so much of the claim was so weak that it was a waste of his time to read it.

I also loved reading the judge's dismissal. "Legalese, legalese, legalese, avoid the 'ancient ones' bringing about the apocalypse, legalese."
Oh! More goodies from the decision:

TRIP’S IAN AND CABIN’S CURT: "The similarity that they are both strong and look like movie stars is unavailing, for if Trip were to secure the copyright on strong and attractive males, there would be few works that do not infringe upon that common casting type."

TRIP’S SAM AND CABIN’S MARTY: "that allegation is blatantly false and appears designed solely to fabricate similarities between, the otherwise dissimilar, Marty and Sam"

PROOF THAT THE JUDGE HAS GOOD TASTE: "Plaintiff’s work has few humorous elements. . . . By comparison, Defendant’s work is consistently funny throughout the entire show."

RANDOM ALLEGED SIMILARITIES (Judge's description, not mine): "The list grossly mischaracterizes the facts of both works in nearly every alleged 'similarity' provided and describes the scenes in an astronomically abstract way in a futile attempt to create similarities."
I take issue with the ruling "Matt is also the narrator and
main character of Trip, and was never “killed,” whereas Holden is stabbed through the neck by a zombie."

Uh, it was a Redneck Torture Family Zombie. Entirely separate thing. ;)

[ edited by bivith on 2015-09-15 10:37 ]
The judge is very sarcastic "The fact that movie star Chris
Hemsworth, the actor who plays Curt, “looks like a movie star” does not suffice to
establish substantial similarity. "
I love the fact the judge probably had to watch cabin in the woods to make his ruling.
Darn! and just when I was getting set to sue Joss for 100 million bazillion dollars for The Avengers. After all, he clearly stole my character Luki that I wrote in crayon when I was five years old and left buried in the back of my childhood closet for the last 40 years.

Well, on to Plan B. Google "How to sue George Lucas."
I'm guessing this cost Joss/Drew/Lionsgate a whole bunch of money to defend... But it is kinda hilarious to imagine the judge watching the movie and then basically slating the book. Harsher than an Amazon review anyhoo.

[ edited by gossi on 2015-09-15 11:45 ]
"The court furthermore states that it snarfed Pepsi out its nose in that scene where the elevators go DING."

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2015-09-15 14:06 ]
At least there's reason to believe that the judge enjoyed "Cabin", based on his calling it consistently funny throughout. He probably spent a lot more time reading the 320 page book, and there's nothing to indicate that he enjoyed it at all.
As long as it didn't cost them too much, I'm kind of glad the lawsuit thing happened, because reading a court document where a judge describes Cabin is pretty awesome.
What got me was this guy thinking Joss and Drew would want to steal an idea from a book he was selling on the streets of L.A. And just because he was selling this book on the streets of L.A., meant they had access to it and thus, could have ripped him off. AS.IF. This lawsuit was more than a nuisance and greater than any insult you could level at those two talented men.
I love footnote 7.

" While Gallagher claims copying by Defendants due,in part, to similar sounding names and, in reality, very little else, it is puzzling to discover that the prime antagonist behind the scenes of the horror Matt and Julie endured in Trip is named Rex Luther; one’s mind immediately thinks of Superman’s arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor. Indeed, it would seem that Rex and Lex are substantially more similar than any of the characters in
Cabin that Gallagher argues are 'striking[ly]' so."
So theoretically, Gallagher could spend the next century paying off a ten million dollar copyright infringement by DC, if they chose to pursue it?

How cosmically, ironically appropriate.

P.S. Not to be piling on or anything, but the sledge-o-matic guy should check to see if he can get ten bucks of action out of the deal, too.

[ edited by RobynH on 2015-09-16 10:18 ]
I think my favorite part is:

"Needless to say, the elaborate underground facility in Cabin, stocked with countless monsters and horrors that is large enough to necessitate employees driving golf-carts between sectors and happens to be built on top of a portal to the old gods, does not remotely resemble a sound mixing stage."

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