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Judge decides in favor of Angelina Jolie -- for now -- in copyright dispute

When Angelina Jolie was sued in 2011 for allegedly infringing on a Croatian journalist's copyright with her directorial debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," Los Angeles news sources took note. These sorts of allegations are not at all uncommon in the entertainment industry, but since this dispute involved the glamorous and famous Jolie, it got more attention than usual.

This week, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the dispute found that there was not enough similarity between "In the Land of Blood and Honey" and the journalist's novel, "The Soul Shattering" to evidence copyright infringement. She has now asked the journalist to come up with enough of a reason for her not to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning he could not bring it again.

The judge said there are general similarities between the works, which both involve two ethnically different Serbians whose relationship is torn apart by strife in the 1990s.

However, she said those similarities were not enough to constitute copyright infringement. She pointed out that thematically, the works are very different, with "Blood and Honey" being hopeless and sad and "The Soul Shattering" being more uplifting and hopeful. She also said the journalist cannot claim to have invented the subject matters in which the two works were related, such as war crimes, rape and ethnic turmoil. Lastly, she noted that "The Soul Shattering" is based in the journalist's real life experience, while "Blood and Honey" is entirely a work of fiction.

If there are further developments in this case, we will update this blog with another post.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Angelina Jolie scores tentative victory in 'Blood and Honey' Copyright Lawsuit," Eriq Gardner, March 29, 2013

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