Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The artist who made Yes’ album covers loses his lawsuit against James Cameron

Some crazy stuff (L), Some other crazy stuff (R)

Much like the environmentally friendly hippie message of James Cameron’s Avatar—which said you can’t, like, own the land, maaan—a judge has decided that artist Roger Dean can’t, like, own fantastical images of flying islands or whatever, maaan. Dean is best known for creating album art for un-Googleable bands like Yes and Asia that would often feature strange, exotic landscapes full of the same sort of crazy nonsense that Avatar was full of. In fact, Dean felt that the similarities between the movie and, say, this were so clear that he sued Cameron for infringing on his shtick.

Now, though, a judge has dismissed the $50 million lawsuit, officially declaring that Avatar is a wholly unique film that isn’t derivative of anything that came before—or any Yes and Asia albums that came before, at least. This seems like a tough loss for Dean, but maybe he can pull something positive out of it. After all, his art has been declared legally different enough from Avatar that he can’t sue, so maybe he can get back at them by making a movie that’s literally adapted from his Yes albums. It would be just like Avatar but with more prog rock, and we think it’d be pretty big with the “painting shit on the side of a van” crowd.


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