James Cameron - James Cameron sued for $50m over Avatar

James Cameron is being sued for $50 million by a British artist over claims he stole ideas for the film 'Avatar'.

The director - whose 3D blockbuster became the highest grossing movie of all time, making more than $2.8 billion worldwide - has been accused of ''willful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation'' by artist Roger Dean in a lawsuit filed last week.

Dean is claiming that Cameron must have studied his work before making 'Avatar' and that, in particular, the floating islands and massive trees on the fictional planet of Pandora heavily resemble his own paintings.

In legal documents, the artist - described in the papers as ''an international artist and designer, whose evocative and visionary images created a new genre of work'' - claims Cameron ''studied and referenced his art in preparation for the film''.

The papers continued: ''The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre.''

The artist also pointed out the similarities between the Tree of Life and the Home Tree of Avatar's fictional alien race, the Na'vi, and his works, Pathway and Floating Jungle.

Dean said his claims were backed up by ''numerous comments on the internet''.

Cameron - who won a best director Oscar for his earlier smash hit 'Titanic' - has said publicly that he first came up with the idea for 'Avatar' in 1995.

The director is currently working on two sequels, the first of which is expected to be released in 2015.


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