NOVEMBER 17, 2009
After a six year dispute, prolific writer and profound spiritualist, Sophia Stewart has received justice for copyright infringement and racketeering and will finally recover damages from the films, The Matrix I, II and III, as well as The Terminator and its sequels. Yes, you heard that correctly – the entire Matrix & Terminator franchises, and her suspected pay off is expected to be the highest in history – an estimated 2.5 billion.
Her case is a true landmark, and far too uncommon as countless creatives are exploited by the snake-like dealings of the movie industry. Here’s a recap of her triumphant journey by way of George2.0:
“Stewart filed her case in 1999, after viewing the Matrix, which she felt had been based on her manuscript, ‘The Third Eye,’ copyrighted in 1981. In the mid-eighties Stewart had submitted her manuscript to an ad placed by the Wachowski Brothers, requesting new sci-fi works.
According to court documentation, an FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in an attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. The investigation also stated that ‘credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers.’ These witnesses claimed to have seen Stewart’s original work and that it had been ‘often used during preparation of the motion pictures.’ The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart’s case dismissed, without success.
Stewart has confronted skepticism on all sides, much of which comes from Matrix fans, who are strangely loyal to the Wachowski Brothers. One on-line forum, entitled Matrix Explained has an entire section devoted to Stewart. Some who have researched her history and writings are open to her story.”
Although it’s long overdue, and buried in large part by the media machine, Stewart has finally received official credit (and hopefully financial settlement by 2009) for her prodigious contributions to both Hollywood, and the world for her ground breaking sagas, both the Matrix & Terminator franchises. Let us hope that this landmark ruling provides a measure of hope for other ripped off screenwriters seeking justice even if only by way of public recognition.
To echo her 2004 victorious press release:
‘The Matrix & Terminator movie franchises have made world history and have ultimately changed the way people view movies and how Hollywood does business, yet the real truth about the creator and creation of these films continue to elude the masses because the hidden secret of the matter is that these films were created and written by a Black woman…a Black woman named Sophia Stewart. But Hollywood does not want you to know this fact simply because it would change history. Also it would encourage our Black children to realize a dream and that is…nothing is impossible for them to achieve!’
We’d like to believe that the justice she received was not in name only, and she is able to reap the benefits of her enormous creative contributions.
This has been debunked for 8 years now… http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/matrix.asp
The real mother of the Matrix’s name is LANA WACHOWSKI, and she is one hell of a woman.
It seems as though the court might have disagreed.
It seems that the court does not in fact disagree. The 2004 motion that she won was simply a motion against dismissal, which meant that she had the right to pursue her claim in court. Nothing more. This is analogous in criminal law to treating an arraignment as if it were a conviction. In 2005 she failed to appear in court to pursue her claim, leading to a summary dismissal (http://www.scribd.com/doc/24612052/Sophia-Stewart-v-Andy-Wachowski-et-al-C-D-Calif-2005).
This led to a 2006 decision (http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/12447013/75472951/name/23342663-Matrix-and-Terminator-copyright-rulings.pdf) awarding the defendants attorney’s fees, which is the usual “stop wasting everybody’s time” penalty when a lawsuit is dismissed for lack of merit. No legal action has been taken since then, and that lack of action speaks far louder than her words continuing to claim to have had a fundamental influence in “The Matrix” and “The Terminator.”
This story is based on an overzealous college newspaper story that is now nine years old, a retraction for which was published the very next week. As a writer, I know that everyone wants to have a piece of a popular myth, especially people who have been routinely stepped on by the wider culture. Desire, however, must in this case bow to fact. Sophia Stewart had her opportunity to prove her claim and, like the woman who claimed to be the “real” creator of the Harry Potter mythos, her claim failed to hold up in the crucible.
The strong feminine imagery and philosophy behind The Matrix does in fact point at a woman’s role in creating the story – that woman is Lana Wachowski.