In order to defeat Ms. Chase-Riboud's claim of copyright infringement,
Dreamworks must show that it did not copy any original work from Echo
of Lions. To meet this burden, Dreamworks advances two main arguments.
No one owns a copyright to history. Dreamworks argues that any similarities
between Echo of Lions and its film grow out of the fact that they
are grounded in the same historical incident. Since no one can own a copyright
in "mere facts," any elements of Echo of Lions which arise from
the historical record are not Ms. Chase-Riboud's property. Dreamworks may
use them freely.
Echo of Lions itself contains copied elements. Dreamworks
alleges that there are over 80 similarities between Echo of Lions
and the 1953 novel Black Mutiny, by William Owens. It includes among
these similarities many of the similarities Ms. Chase-Riboud alleges exist
between Echo of Lions and its film.