Move over Watchmen lawsuit! Another belated, multi-studio legal battle is brewing in Hollywood.
The owners of the story behind Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window just got around to watching Shia LaBeouf’s breakthrough 2007 Disturbia and noticed what every reviewer did: it’s the same story as Rear Window.
But is this really grounds for a lawsuit? There are plenty of movies that come out every year that seem like ripoffs of an earlier film, and no one gets sued.
Reuters: Steven Spielberg and major Hollywood studios stole the plot from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1954 film “Rear Window” in making last year’s “Disturbia,” a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday said.
Dreamworks, its parent company Viacom Inc, and Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co’s NBC Universal, are accused of copyright infringement and breach of contract for making “Disturbia” without first obtaining permission from the copyright holders, the suit said.
Spielberg, a Dreamworks founder, is named as a defendant. The film grossed about $80 million at the U.S. box office.
According to the lawsuit, filed by the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust, the basis for Hitchcock’s 1954 film was “Murder from a Fixed Viewpoint,” a short story by Cornell Woolrich.
Hitchcock and actor James Stewart obtained the motion picture rights to the story in 1953. The lawsuit argues that Dreamworks should have done the same.
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