Either Terry Gilliam was the victim of a gypsy curse in his youth or he needs to get his act together, because he’s once again at the center of a copyright lawsuit. An international crew of street artists have filed suit against Gilliam, The Zero Theorem production designer David Warren, and the film’s distributors, charging that a major set piece in the film “blatantly and intentionally infringed” upon their work.
According to the lawsuit, Argentinians Franco Fasoli and Nicolas Romero along with Canadian Derek Mehaffey collaborated on a mural in 2010 that was later registered with the copyright office in Argentina. Major elements of that piece were then allegedly used, without the artists’ permission, in The Zero Theorem. The original mural can be seen in the original filing; the Zero Theorem set is above.
And although several individuals and companies are named in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs seem to have special venom for Gilliam, and cite a copyright lawsuit surrounding 12 Monkeys in 1996. That suit was later settled for a reported six-figure sum, but the lawsuit says, “Clearly Mr. Gilliam did not learn his lesson, as the present action amply demonstrates.” If the artists get their way, further distribution on The Zero Theorem will cease and the infringing set will be surrendered to the plaintiffs, as well as the obligatory “damages, costs, and fees.”