Judge Rules on Matrix Copyright

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014

It is the world that has been pulled

over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

– Morpheus –
A judge has ruled that the Matrix film trilogy did not plagiarize the work of  Thomas Althouse.

MatrixAlthouse claimed he had submitted a screenplay “The Immortals” to Warner Bros in 1993, and the Matrix Trilogy produced by the studio had infringed his copyright by incorporating ideas from his screenplay into the Matrix films.

He listed 118 alleged similarities in the Matrix to his own work.

Judge R Gary Klausner stated that the areas referred to were “too general for copyright protection.. or are commonly used, unoriginal ideas.”

The Matrix, written and directed by the Wachowskis is a science fiction action film set in a dystopian future with a storyline in which computer hacker “Neo” (Keanu Reeves)  discovers the world experienced by most humans is a dream world of simulated reality – “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines in order to subdue the human race, while machines harness electrical energy and body heat from them as an energy source.

 Other humans who have been freed from the illusionary world are involved in a rebellion against machines  – a rebellion into which Neo finds himself drawn.

Althouse claimed that his screenplay, set in the year 2235, in which CIA agent attempts to stop  a cryogenically reanimated Adolf Hitler from destroying non-immortals, was the inspiration for the Matrix films.

Judge Klausner ruled:
 “the only similarity in plot [was] that both stories portray a protagonist attempting to prevent a dominant group from oppressing and annihilating a subservient group”.

“The basic premises of The Matrix Trilogy and The Immortals are so different that it would be unreasonable to find their plots substantially similar,”

“Examining the protectable details in the two works, no jury could reasonably conclude that The Immortals has substantially similar expressions of ideas to The Matrix Trilogy.”


Other projects by the Wachowskis (formerly the Wachowski Brothers) since the success of “The Matrix”,  have included writing and directing its two sequels -” The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003),  “V for Vendetta” (adapted from the Alan Moore comic), “Speed Racer” a live adaptation of the Japanese anime series and “Cloud Atlas” based on the David Mitchell novel and co-directed by Tom Tykwer.

 The next Wachowski film “Jupiter Ascending” and their television series “Sense8” are both due for release in 2014.

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