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OFF BEAT: Journalist accuses Angelina Jolie of copyright infringement


A Croatian journalist has accused Angelina Jolie and the producers of “In the Land of Blood and Honey” of copyright infringement.

Josip J. Knezevic, a Zagreb, Croatia-based journalist, filed a lawsuit last week against Ms. Jolie, producer Edin Sarkic and the studios that will release the film, accusing them of pilfering key elements from his 2007 book “The Soul Shattering,” according to documents filed in federal court in Chicago.

“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” to be released in December, is written by Ms. Jolie and marks her debut as a director, according to the documents.

Ms. Jolie said the story in the movie was her idea.

“I sat down one day frustrated, having met so many people in post-traumatic stress situations, and wrote a story reflecting on it,” Ms. Jolie told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I didn’t plan on writing a script or a movie. I wanted to put my thoughts on paper regarding a situation not discussed enough. This was my story...a love story that I wrote,” she said.

But Mr. Knezevic, who filed suit under the name James J. Braddock, said he met Mr. Sarkic on several occasions in 2008 and discussed having the book made into a motion picture.

In 2010, Mr. Knezevic learned through media outlets that Ms. Jolie and Mr. Sarkic were filming a movie in Bosnia bearing striking similarities to his work.

Both works detail a love story that takes place in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s.

“The similarities between the subject work and the motion picture are obvious: The motion picture copies key plot elements, themes, characters, events, sequences and settings of the subject work,” according to the lawsuit.

Mr. Knezevic is seeking damages in excess of $100,000.