Shiver me timbers, Disney has another lawsuit win on its hands.  An author claimed that Disney stole his story of pirates that turn into skeletons at night to form the basis of Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies but the author’s claims were put out to sea.
Royce Mathew created a series of works with the same theme: 1993 “Supernatural Pirate Story”, 1993 “Supernatural Pirate Movie” and 1994 “Supernatural Pirate Interactive Computer Game”. The stories feature pirates that turn into supernatural skeletons at night, which was also a main plot point of the *Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl *movie.  Mathew claims that Disney had direct access to his works during these years before the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released and copied his stories. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies have since grossed billions and the fifth installment in the series in currently being filmed.
The real kicker in this is that he has tried to sue Disney, unsuccessfully numerous times. He even signed a release allowing Disney to use the characters because Disney provided evidence in the form of theme park art that proves that they came up with the skeleton pirates before he did. Even this wasn’t good enough for Mr. Mathew. In this complaint he alleges that the theme park art was altered by Disney to make it deceptively appear like it was an original creation. Arrrgh.
Copyright protects the expression of ideas and not just ideas.  So the idea of having pirates that turn into skeletons is not protectable only the plot, themes, and dialogue of the story associated with the skeleton pirates is protected.  All claims were dismissed against Disney and yo ho yo ho back to the drawing board for Mathew.
*Interested in more stories about Disney’s legal battles? Click here. *