Sylvester Stallone takes legal punches in copyright battle

Writer claims Stallone, co-writer copied “The Expendables” plot

“Rocky” and “Rambo” star Sylvester Stallone was accused of copying the plot of “The Expendables” from another writer’s screenplay in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Screenwriter Marcus Webb claims Stallone and co-author David Callaham used a screenplay that is “strikingly similar and in some places identical” to his work, “The Cordoba Caper.”

Both plots revolve around a team of mercenaries hired to defeat a military dictator. According to the lawsuit, Webb says there are notable similarities between his screenplay and the movie, released by Millennium Films, the Nu Image Films unit and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Webb claims both open with a hostage rescue at sea and center on a main villain named General Garza.

“There can be no dispute that Stallone and/or Callaham had access to and copied protectable elements of the screenplay,” the lawsuit said. Webb claimed he registered his screenplay with the U.S. Copyright Office in June 2006 and made it widely available for consideration in the film industry.

However, Millennium Films general counsel Frank DeMartini told Reuters the company has not been served with a lawsuit and declined to comment further.

Webb is seeking unspecified damages and aims to stop any further infringement in sequels, including “Expendables 2,” which is set to release in August 2012.

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