Judge Says ‘Disturbia’ Did Not Rip Off ‘Rear Window’ — What Do You Think?

Shia LaBeouf, star of “Disturbia” is off the hook as a federal judge in New York has dismissed a copyright lawsuit that claimed the 2007 thriller “Disturbia” ripped off Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Rear Window.” Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain tossed out a lawsuit late Tuesday in which Steven Spielberg and others were sued by the estate of the literary agent who owned the rights to the short story on which “Rear Window” was based. The short story was written by Cornell Woolrich in 1942. Woolrich died in 1968.

 “Disturbia” stars Shia LaBeouf as a kid who after watching his father die in a horrific traffic accident, struggles to regain his composure insofar as he was driving the vehicle. Anger, guilt, and the spectrum of emotions haunt this otherwise shy high school student. A particular –yet common – incident occurs when Kale, (LeBeouf’s character) fails to present his vacation plans in Spanish as his final grade for the course. 

After some insensitive remarks from the Spanish teacher, Kale loses his composure and attacks the teacher, landing some punches. In the next scene Kale is before the judge of juvenile court who luckily and with compassion sentences Kale to an ankle device that he must wear and not go beyond 10 feet of the limits of his property. So what else is a high school guy supposed to do?  

In the interim a family purchases and moves into the next door vacant property. In this family there is a young, very attractive lady played by Ashley (Sarah Roemer) who loves to read and swim in the family’s backyard pool. This activity leads Kale – as would any teenage boy in America – to wonder into his late father’s study where he gained access to the best view of the pool and conveniently a pair of binoculars. It is during these innocent times that Kale notices a man and a woman enter the house across the street with only one of them leaving the residence.

Swain said similarities between the story and “Disturbia” were not protected by copyright. She said they were similar only “at very general levels of abstraction.”   

Aaron Yoo as Kale’s best friend “Ronnie” is hilarous!

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