Sylvester Stallone Lands Knockout Punch in 'Expendables' Appellate Ruling

The 2nd Circuit agrees that a copyright infringement lawsuit from writer Marcus Webb shouldn't survive.
Illustration by: Kyle T. Webster

Sylvester Stallone and producers of the The Expendables have prevailed over a writer who claimed to have authored work that provided the basis for the 2010 blockbuster.

On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Marcus Webb's copyright lawsuit alleging Expendables came from his script titled The Cordoba Caper.

STORY: Sylvester Stallone's 'Expendables' Launches Nasty Writers Battle

In December of 2012, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that Webb had failed to show that the defendants had copied his work. A panel of 2nd Circuit judges agrees that the lawsuit shouldn't survive, but does so on the alternative grounds that Expendables and Cordoba aren't "substantially similar."

The appellate opinion (read here) notes that Expendables is a "gunfire-riddled 'pure action flick' " while Cordoba is a "trickery-based true caper." More differences in concept and overall feel are noted. As a result, Webb fails in his mission to gain money from The Expendables, which grossed nearly $275 million worldwide and was produced by Nu Image and others.

The Webb case might be more notable for its interplay with writer David Callaham's battle over Expendables. Read more about that dispute here. It involves a WGA credits arbitration, a new lawsuit alleging fraud, and recently, an unsuccessful attempt to stop follow-up arbitration on The Expendables 2.

Webb attempted to use Nu Image's dispute with Callaham to his own advantage. But ultimately for Webb, what matters most is that various judges don't see Expendables and Cordoba as sharing enough similarity.

Twitter: @eriqgardner