The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Mother of the Matrix" 2

The following note was sent to me regarding my "Matrix" comments:
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I don't know how the hollywood world works, but what convinced me was this

"According to court documentation, an FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. The investigation also stated that "credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers." These witnesses claimed to have seen Stewart's original work and that it had been "often used during preparation of the motion pictures."
The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart's case dismissed, without success."


That seemed somewhat convincing to me and from whats been reported she has already won the case. However, you would know much more about this thats why I asked you. Thanx for your take on the issue.

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My answer:

Let's take a look at those statements:  "According to court documentation, an FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement."

The first, (editing) is an observable act.  The second (in attempt...) is an assignment of motivations.  This depends upon either hearsay, or mind-reading.
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The investigation also stated that "credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers."
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Very interesting.  Again, we need to know PRECISELY what her screenplay contained.  The basic premise of the Matrix is thousands of years old: Tibetan Buddhism, the idea that we are asleep, that demons feed upon our ignorance of being asleep, and that by awakening we gain great power.  I saw it that way, but there were literally endless film and cultural references in the Matrix.  I'd really like to know what was in her script that was so unique, separate from the other cultural contributions.
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The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart's case dismissed, without success."

Whether you were guilty or not, wouldn't you?

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That having been said, Hollywood does steal ideas (note the "Coming to America" case) but the includion of Cameron's "Terminator" made me rather suspicious.  Also, Nothing I have seen suggests anything other than a judge has agreed to look at the case.  There has been no trial, no settlement, no decision, nothing. 

Steve

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