Skip to comments.Archaeologist Suing Makers of Indiana Jones, Claiming Their Crystal Skull is Too Accurate
Posted on 12/10/2012 7:12:58 PM PST by DogByte6RER
Archaeologist suing makers of Indiana Jones, claiming their Crystal Skull is too accurate
Can a fantastical movie be too historically accurate? Dr. Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archeology of Belize, has filed suit against Lucasfilm and Paramount Pictures claiming that the prop skull from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull bears a striking resemblance to one of the "real" Crystal Skulls originally discovered in Belize. So why is that a problem? Well, according to Awe, the skull was stolen, and the filmmakers are profitting off of ill-gotten goods.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Awe's suit and its history. In the complaint he filed with the US District Court in Illinois, Awe explains the history of the so-called "Mitchell-Hedges Skull." The Mitchell-Hedges Skull was allegedly discovered in 1924 by Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, adopted daughter of the adventurer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. The Mitchell-Hedges removed the skull from Belize in 1930, in violation of laws that were already in place forbidding the removal of artifacts and antiquities from Belize. (Edit: Commenters MissRaye and ryanwkirkmanryanwkirkman note that many archaeologists believe the Mitchell-Hedges Skull to be a hoax; you can read our piece about Crystal Skulls, including the Mitchell-Hedges Skull and other skulls found to be of modern origin.)
Awe claims that the Crystal Skull from the film bears a striking resemblance to the Mitchell-Hedges Skull (though as some folks are noting in the comments, those resemblances seem to be that they are both transparent are somewhat skull-shaped; the movie skull is less human) and thus must have been based on its likeness. Awe goes on to allege that Lucasfilm never approached Belize for permission to use the skull's likeness, although Awe claims that "Belize has a right, title and interest in and to the Mitchell-Hedges Skull." Awe is suing the Mitchell-Hedges estates as well as Bill Homann, the late Anna's husband and current custodian of the skull, for the return of the skull, and is suing Lucasfilm (and Disney as the parent company) and Paramount for tortious interference with prospective economic benefit and civil conspiracy.
I've only glanced through the complaint, and I'm not familiar with international laws regarding relics. But I don't see anything in the complaint that explains under what statute or common law provision Lucasfilm et al. are violating by using the skull's likeness, even on the off chance that the skull does turn out to be a genuine artifact rather than a more modern creation. This may be more of an attempt to bring attention to Belize's troubles with illegally removed artifacts or to draw attention to Belize as a home to archaeological artifacts. (Edit: Or perhaps he's looking to resolve the question of whether the skull is a hoax.)
Suck it up and pay out Lucas and Spielberg.
As rich white Hollywood liberals, you always like to rail against evil corporations profitting off of the third world. Then, you make yourselves feel smug by campaigning and supporting the likes of Barack Obama.
It's time for you to walk the walk.
As Obama's preacher of hate would say ... "The chickens have come home to roost."
Suck it up and take your lashings.
Reference link re: the lawsuit ...
“You know the more I think about it ol Billy was right....”
Never mind Lucas and Spielberg
Disney has DEEP pockets
I visited a museum in Mannheim Germany about a year ago and saw a display on skulls from around the world. There were several crystal skulls that were identified as relatively modern in origin. The information providedindicated that none of the 12-13 crystal skulls discovered around the world were ancient.
Wrong lawsuit..I thought they were going to sue Lucas and Spielberg for that crappy movie.
Yeah ... it was that one that began as an Indiana Jones movie then turned into a Close Encounters movie. It sucked.
Dr. Jones ends up having a Close Encounter of the weird kind with Lucas and Spielberg.
By the time the suit is settled; all Americans will be broke and Lucas and Spielberg will pay the suit with goats and chickens. If they pay at all.
Between this movie with aliens and Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, they really screwed up.
Given the claims surrounding those skulls, the copyrights, if any, expired centuries ago.
It had one good line...
Yup. It was total bull sh*t. From The Last Crusade to this piece of excrement. It was so bad, I remembered throwing that disc out of the collection and called it the “trilogy”.
It had one good visual....
Ok, I’ll give it props for that line..and that the commies were the enemy. But the UFO nonsense, gawd..
So, somebody finds something that was like a thousand years old and then somebody makes an almost likeness of it and gets sued? Please explain the copy write laws to me again.
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