In 2017, screenwriters Lee Alfred and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. embarked on what would be a five-year journey for their copyright infringement claim against Walt Disney Pictures over the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Now, one year after it resolved, their legacy lives on through a new era of copyright litigation in Hollywood. Courts continue to rely on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the Pirates case to allow screenwriters and other artists to proceed past the pleading stage. With that pendulum swing, litigants in copyright cases over Hollywood films will face a range of undeveloped issues. This article provides a brief recap of the impact from the Pirates case and identifies several open issues that litigants are likely to address in future cases as a result.
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