A US judge has ordered director James Cameron to hand over drafts of the screenplay for Avatar to lawyers for a man claiming he wrote the script on which the 3D blockbuster was based.
Eric Ryder is seeking compensation from Cameron and his production company Lightstorm Entertainment, claiming that the 2009 Oscar-nominated film is based on a story he wrote called K.R.Z. 2068.
He filed a lawsuit in December 2011, saying he spent two years developing the story.
On Wednesday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alan Rosenfield ordered Cameron's lawyers to turn over screenplay drafts.
"We have to be careful and sensitive about ideas and information," said the judge.
But he denied a request by Ryder's lawyers to grant access to the personal calendars of Cameron and Jon Landau, the chief operating officer of Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment Inc.
Ryder's lawyer K Andrew Kent said his legal team will also get access to backup tapes from computers used by Cameron.
Avatar is about a paraplegic US marine, played by Australian actor Sam Worthington, with split loyalties after being sent to a distant world wanted for its mining potential.
The film was seen as a breakthrough in the use of 3D technology and has grossed more than $2.7 billion worldwide, with plans for a sequel.