The Persistence of Misinformation

The Persistence of Misinformation

No, Sophia Stewart did not win a lawsuit declaring that The Matrix was her work

  • Posted on: 31 December 2013
  • By: stannenb

It is one of the more persistent legends on the Internet, thoroughly debunked, internally inconsistent, yet repeated again and again. No, Sophia Stewart did not, as reported by a Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) blogger last week, just win a judgement that the movie "The Matrix" was stolen from her, nor has she ever.

According to time.com, Stewart filed a lawsuit in 2003 alleging that the ideas for The Matrix, as well as the The Terminator, were taken from her 1983 novel, "The Third Eye". The case, according to court documents, did not go to trial, the defendants being granted summary dismissal because "Stewart's admissions concerning the lack of similarity between her works and the Terminator and Matrix films establish the absence of a triable issue of fact regarding striking similarity." Stewart, that is, couldn't even establish there was enough similarity between her works and the Matrix to allow for a trial. Because Stewart failed to provide any evidence that would substantiate her claims, the judge found that she was liable for over $300,000 in court costs. The full judgement is included below.

snopes.com reports that misinformation about the case stems from a since retracted student newspaper article that mischaracterized a decision in the case where the court declined to dismiss Stewart's suit as a victory for in the lawsuit itself. Since then, this story has reappeared periodically, most recently on CNN's iReport web site, the apparent source for the CCTV blog. The iReport web site now says "This iReport has been found to be factually incorrect as the lawsuit was dismissed in 2005."

But one does not have to resort to web searches or debunking sites to treat this article with skepticism. Consider simple math. The report says that a law suit filed in 1999 and that took five years has just been resolved. Indeed, the concluding paragraph of the story notes a so-called victory press released being issued in 2004. The article provides no explanation for the missing nine years.

"The blog cited in this article was published on the website of Cambridge Community Television, the community media center serving Cambridge. Anyone may create an account and post content on cctvcambridge.org, which, as is also true of our community cable channels, is not moderated or censored," noted Susan Fleischmann, Executive Director of CCTV. "NeighborMedia.org, another site under CCTV's auspices, is a citizen journalism forum where selected reporters are expected to maintain basic journalistic standards. Even in light of erroneous information, or any form of speech that others find objectionable, CCTV passionately defends its position as a First Amendment forum."

Matrix and Terminator copyright rulings by Daniel Ballard

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Comments

Peace Be Unto You,

In partial response to your posting entitled "The Persistence to Misinformation," I'm including an article I found in the Final Call News, published in 2005, and a 2012 account of a court case against the defendant Johnathan Lubell:

Who really wrote The Matrix?
By Nisa Islam Muhammad
Staff Writer | Last updated: Jan 4, 2005 - 6:20:00 PM

What's your opinion on this article?

Printer Friendly Page
sophia_stewart01-04-2004.jpg
Sophia Stewart

(FinalCall.com) - Screenplay writer Sophia Stewart is adamant that she is the author of the screenplay for the blockbuster movie, The Matrix, and her body of work was stolen. She is suing Warner Brothers, Joel Silver, Andy and Larry Wachowski in Los Angeles’ United States District Court in a case that has been defined as one of the largest suits for damages in the history of the film industry.

The case will be heard July 2005 by a jury to decide if, in fact, the defendants committed copyright infringement and racketeering for allegedly stealing Ms. Stewart’s work and then creating The Matrix. It has been a five-year battle with Ms. Stewart, as a little David against the motion picture industry as the Goliath.

“I’ve won major decisions in the court. I got the FBI involved from the very beginning. The copyright infringement involves two of the biggest movie franchises in film history, The Terminator and The Matrix. They stole my work and I have the evidence to prove it,” Ms. Stewart told The Final Call.

“I was completely blown away when I saw my work on the screen and I knew I hadn’t sold it to anyone. I shopped it around from 1981 to 1985 to Fox and in 1986 to the Wachowski brothers. I have the letters to prove they had access to my work. Fox is lying in federal court when they say they never had access to my work because I have the signed registered returned receipts and a lot of letters of access from them,” she said.

She further explained, “I created an epic—which is a body of work that you can get six or more movies from. The Matrix is a derivative of The Terminator. The Matrix comes from the future part of the epic.”

The book is called “The Third Eye” and is an epic science fiction manuscript with copyrights dating back to 1981.

“After viewing Star Wars, I thought, no one has done a science fiction version of the Second Coming of Christ, the foretelling of his Second Coming,” she said.

While Ms. Stewart was shopping her manuscript around, she also sent it to the Wachowski brothers in response to an ad looking for a science fiction manuscript to create a comic book.

During the FBI investigation, it was discovered that, in an effort to avoid liability, 30 minutes or more was edited from the original Matrix film. Further 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 as they claimed.

The witnesses also added that the original work of Ms. Stewart had been seen, and often used during preparation of the motion pictures. During a Sept. 27 court proceeding, United States District Judge Margaret Morrow ruled against several motions made by the defendants in their attempt to get the suits against them dismissed.

The investigation done by the FBI not only established Ms. Stewart as the writer of The Matrix, but also surprisingly The Terminator. If she wins the case with her mounting piles of evidence, Ms. Stewart will receive damages in what may be one of the biggest payoffs in the history of Hollywood. The Terminator and its sequels, along with The Matrix and its sequels, have gross receipts totaling over $2.5 billion.

“Some people can’t believe a Black woman wrote The Matrix or The Terminator. I didn’t write it with my skin; I wrote it with my brain,” says Ms. Stewart. “Since when did skin color have anything to do with intelligence, like rich and powerful has nothing to do with theft. The poor steal because they’re needy; the rich steal because they’re greedy.”

Case 2:07-cv-00552-CW-EJF Document 219 Filed 12/04/12 Page 1 of 2
SOPHIA STEWART,
ORDER OF DEFAULT AS TO DEFENDANT JONATHAN W. LUBELL
Case No. 2:07-cv-00552
Judge Clark Waddoups Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse
v.
MICHAEL T. STOLLER, et al.,
Defendants.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
Plaintiff,
By a motion filed September 28, 2012 [Dkt. No. 200], Plaintiff moved the court to enter judgment of default against Defendant Jonathan W. Lubell. The motion was not opposed.
Plaintiff’s motion is based on the Magistrate Judge’s Order to Show Cause dated December 8, 2011 [Dkt. No. 174] inquiring as to the reason that Defendant did not appear at the Initial Pretrial Conference dated December 7, 2011. In its Order, the court also required Defendants to appear for a scheduling conference on January 11, 2012. On January 10, 2012, Defendant Lubell’s wife contacted the court by telephone to request that her husband be allowed to appear at the hearing on January 11 by telephone for health reasons. This request was denied by the Magistrate Judge who also entered a Report and Recommendation concerning Defendant Lubell’s failure to appear, suggesting that Defendant Lubell’s Answer be stricken as a consequence. [Dkt. No. 183.] Defendant Lubell objected to the Report and Recommendation [Dkt. No. 184] outside the time limit set for doing so, upon which this court entered an Order adopting the Report and Recommendation [Dkt. No. 189] but allowing Defendant Lubell to file an Amended Answer under certain conditions. Defendant Lubell failed to file the required Case 2:07-cv-00552-CW-EJF Document 219 Filed 12/04/12 Page 2 of 2 motion for leave to file an Amended Answer together with an attached proposed Amended Answer. Plaintiff therefore moved for entry of default judgment against Defendant Lubell [Dkt. No. 193] and a Default Certificate was entered against Defendant Lubell by the clerk of the court on August 28, 2012 [Dkt. No. 196].

In light of the failure of the Defendant to appear as required by the court and upon the failure of the Defendant to oppose the motion for entry of a default judgment, and good cause for the motion appearing, the court hereby GRANTS THE MOTION IN PART, but DENIES the request to enter judgment in the amount requested.

It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant Jonathan W. Lubell is in default. Judgment will be entered against him upon the submission by Plaintiff of evidence to support the amount of damages to be entered in the judgment.

SO ORDERED this 4th day of December, 2012.
BY THE COURT:
____________________________________ Clark Waddoups
United States District Judge
2

Yours In Peace,
Hasson Rashid

Hassan,

New Years greetings.

1) The article you posted (I assume you got permission from the copyright holder) as a comment was written prior to the court ruling I posted. Stewart's law suit had no supporting evidence and was dismissed summarily and she was assessed costs.

2) MuckRock recently filed an Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI to see if they ever investigated the Matrix for plagiarism. The FBI has no record of investigating the Matrix. You can read their response here: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/880690-no-responsive-documents.ht...

3) Stewart sued her lawyer and won. That says nothing about her having written The Matrix.

You feel victim to a widespread internet hoax. You should retract your article for your own credibility.

If it is a hoax or not, the authorities have not arrested her as a perpetrator of lies as of yet. I'm still looking into it, perhaps Ms Steward can be invited to speak here at CCTV?

Did you know that according to the (THAINDIAN NEWS) Larry Wachowski, the former Matrix Director underwent an operation so that he could switch his gender.Wachowski now goes with the name Lana, after having a successful sex change operation.According to the (THAINDIAN NEWS) Wachowski announced himself at a film promo where he introduced himself as Lana.Wachowski wore a grey dress and had dreadlocks on his head. He also spoke with a German accent. It is not yet clear whether the operation was completely successful, but Wachowski says according to the (THAINDIAN NEWS) that he has been in transition for a long time and he thinks that the transition is now complete and he is a complete female.

News is universal, the citizens of the earth have a right know, and that is the naked truth.

Yours In Peace,
Hasson

Hassan,

There is no "if". Stewart's suit alleging that The Matrix was stolen from her was summarily dismissed. You can find the ruling in the official record of the US court system here: https://ecf.cacd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/HistDocQry.pl?38333 .

"Authorities" do not arrest people who are "perpetrator of lies", nor do they arrest people who file false or frivolous lawsuits. When one files a lawsuit that's found to be so baseless as to be a waste of the court's time, the sanction applied is that the filer of the lawsuit must pay all costs associated with it. That's exactly what happened here.

News is universal and the citizens of the earth have the right to know that your original posting is untrue. That's the naked truth.

Peace,

Thank you for responding to my postings and comments. Tell me, just how much do you know about this Stewart woman? Do you know why she has not been, or being charge with a crime, and indicted for fabrication a falsehood, or as you put it presenting misinformation. A 100% fabrication of the truth on the scale of claims and their interactions, with courts of law involve in this matter, are grounds for a serious criminal offense. You failed to mention if she was charged with a crime, for her part in presenting so-called misinformation. The courts not convicting, or the defendants not filing charges against the Stewart women is nebulous. Any news worthy matter that involves the judicial system is public knowledge, to tag it as copyright violation is equally unjust.

I try to cultivate a non conventional approach to non mainstream public worthy news information, you seem to be just the opposite, by your support of the conventional or mainstream approach to news reporting. Non conventional approaches to news reporting is in accord with independent community/publis news media outlets such as a CCTV. Your insinuation may be right about my development as a reporter of items of community interest in neo-mainstream media outlets. It's conventional to prosecute lies and mis-information. Where is the news on these developments in the Stewart women's case, it sounds more like a conventional type cover up.

Peace,
Hasson

Hasson,

To review the basic facts:

- you posted an article entitled "Black Author wins Copyright Case for Matrix move" which you sourced to a CNN iReport
- that iReport has been taken down and a notice posted that it was not true
- I've provided you the court decision which shows that, rather than winning a copyright case, the author in question lost and was required to pay over $300,000 in court costs

There is nothing conventional or unconvential about these facts. Your article was untrue.

You seem to misunderstand how the American justice system works. It is not a crime to file a lawsuit based on false information, thus Stewart will not be charged with anything. The way one is punished for a baseless lawsuit is by being made to pay the costs of the lawsuit. That's what happened in this case.

Your article was untrue and should be retracted. Unconvential reporting requires credibility and you damage yours, and by reflection CCTV's, by not acknowledging the simple facts of this matter.

Peace Be Unto You Once Again Mr. Tannenbaum,

I think your going over the top in your accusations, that I'm intentionally presenting untruths. Now, I really need to approach this matter by going back to review the initial facts here. For me they started with becoming a member of CCTV, and you know I don't have to remind you of all the opportunities involved for members such as myself (Seniors) here at CCTV, and you too. As you must know
membership at CCTV provides access to the services and facilities that CCTV offers. Anyone can create an account on our website and begin contributing blogs, photos, and more that they believe to be relevant to the greater community. In all my submissions my intentions were to submit something relevant to the community/ population base at large. You can't prove that it wasn't. Again, you must also remember that membership at CCTV, is not the same as it would be at a main stream convention media outlet. We (CCTV) are an alternative source of media for a diverse community (population). Isn't that right. Are you a qualified specialist in critiquing members of alternate media or not ? That's one of the reason, I think your going over the top with your criticism of me. Your conventional criticism of me won't work, as far my alternative media credibility is concerned. CCTV is more of a self help educational type media, we are all students in learning, not paid conventional media types. You are passing judgement on me as, if I was a paid media type, and this was a conventional media outlet. Most of what applies to main stream media is obsolete in alternative media, and I question if this has anything or very little to do we the American Justice System as you insinuated it does. The jury is still out on alternative media outlets, and until it get's back in, we should be very careful of what we accuse others, especially the layman alternative media personal such as myself and other members of CCTV, as they all strive to better their performances as non paid members of Community and Public Access (Alternate Media) Media.

Don't get me wrong I do appreciate your feedback, it's starting to open a can of worms that should have been clarified in the early days of alternate media. But for all I know as a beginner, it may have been. Many community access and public access stations, and PEG, are honeycomb by convention media critics, such as yourself, seeking to undermined the direction alternative media is moving in. I'm don't know if this is your number or not, but it's starting point towards a kind bullying conventional thinking criticism. Again the jury is still out on all of this.

Yours In Peace,
Mr. Hasson J. Rashid