Street Artists Sue Terry Gilliam for “Blatant” Copyright Infringement

Jaz, Ever, and Other, Castillo, 2010 Photo via: Deadline
Jaz, Ever, and Other, Castillo, 2010 Photo via: Deadline

Three street artists known as Jaz, Ever, and Other are accusing Monty Python actor and film director Terry Gilliam of plagiarizing their mural in his latest movie The Zero Theorem, Deadline reports.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Illinois on August 12, the three artists—two Argentinean nationals and one Canadian—seek damages for the “blatant misappropriation” of a piece they painted collaboratively in Buenos Aires in 2010.

The film, which was shot in Romania in 2012 and is due to be released in the US next month, stars Christopher Waltz, Matt Damon, and Tilda Swinton. It tells the story of a computer genius living in a converted chapel. The outside of this chapel features the contentious mural, which is shown extensively in the movie’s promotional material.

Still from The Zero Theorem Photo via: Deadline

Still from The Zero Theorem
Photo via: Deadline

Gilliam, who first came to prominence as part of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python, is identified in the complaint as the perpetrator of the infringement, although he is only one of several defendants.

The artists describe the film director as a “repeat infringer.” Gilliam was sued for copyright  infringement in relation to his 1995 film Twelve Monkeys, which featured a chair allegedly based on a drawing by Lebbeus Woods. That case was eventually settled.

The mural was registered with the Copyright Office in Argentina in November 2013, one year after the film was shot.

Watch the trailer for The Zero Theorem, which includes a very brief shot of the allegedly infringing mural:

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