The Oscars are not all fun and games. Amidst the awards, partying and celebration, there is a copyright dispute going on behind the scenes. According to the Los Angeles Times, there is a copyright lawsuit against The Shape of Water.
While the Oscar frontrunner has received many accolades, it is under hot water right now. Director Guillermo del Toro and his team may be guilty of plagiarizing a play from the 1960s.
David Zindel, son of playwright Paul Zindel, is suing the team behind the Oscar contender because they claim it is too similar to the 1969 play, Let Me Hear You Whisper. The storyline in Water follows a blossoming romance between The Asset and Elisa, which many viewers find almost identical to the narrative in Whisper that tells about a scrub-woman attempting to save a dolphin.
Details of the complaints
Zindel claims that Producer Daniel Kraus is guilty of copying the work of the play. The lawsuit says Kraus is an admirer of the play and is notorious for stealing creative ideas. Zindel also alleges del Toro has too strong of a connection with Stephen Gammell, an artist whose work is featured in the 1974 version of the play.
Fox Searchlight defends itself
Despite the accusations of plagiarism and copyright infringement, Fox Searchlight Pictures, the studio behind the film, is claiming the lawsuit is baseless. The studio is planning to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit and is likely to submit a dismissal. Fox Searchlight also claims director del Toro has not ever seen or read the play or any of its adaptations.
Copyright infringement claims in Hollywood are nothing new. These types of legal claims are serious, and no one should ever take them lightly. Anyone who finds another party infringing on his or her original work or who faces claims of infringement should seek help from an intellectual property lawyer.