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Judge Dismisses Yes Artist Roger Dean’s Lawsuit Against Director James Cameron

Atlantic Records / 20th Century Fox

A U.S. district judge in New York has ruled that filmmaker James Cameron‘s mountains can come out of the sky and stand there, even if they resemble Roger Dean‘s famous album covers.

Dean’s 2013 lawsuit alleging copyright infringement was dismissed on Wednesday. Dean asserted that 14 of his paintings served as inspiration for the 2009 movie ‘Avatar,’ and was seeking $50 million in damages from Cameron, 20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment, Cameron’s production company. Specifically, Dean said that a biosphere associated with the film’s planet Pandora (pictured above, at right) and several of its alien creatures resembled work he had created for the likes of Yes and Asia.

District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman, however, ruled that Dean’s counsel had presented a “misguided” argument. Images submitted to the court were from “books about or derived from ‘Avatar’,” rather than the film itself, Furman said. Further, the images that were actually from the movie were rotated, cropped and taken out of context, in an attempt to make them seem more similar to Dean’s work, the judge said.

Some of Dean’s most memorable artwork has been featured on Yes’ ‘Fragile,’ ‘Close to the Edge,’ ‘Yessongs’ (pictured above left) and ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans‘ albums, as well as Asia’s self-titled debut. He continues to collaborate with both bands, creating the covers for Yes’ current project ‘Heaven and Earth‘ and Asia’s 2014 release ‘Gravitas.’ He’s drawn images for Uriah Heep, John Lodge of the Moody Blues, Atomic Rooster and many others, as well. Dean also created Yes’ band logo.

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