James Cameron sued by artist over Avatar

Director James Cameron has been hit with a £32 million lawsuit from an artist over his movie Avatar.

Roger Dean has filed legal action at a court in New York, alleging Cameron copied his ideas for the 3D blockbuster, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

Dean, who has designed album covers for bands including Yes and Asia, accused Cameron of "wilful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation" of his imagery and claims the Oscar winner "studied and referenced his art in preparation for the film".

His complaint states, "The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre."

It is the latest legal hurdle for Cameron, who has been plagued by a slew of similar allegations since Avatar's premiere in 2009 - in December, 2011, he was hit with a $2.5 billion copyright lawsuit by a sci-fi screenwriter, while another plaintiff also filed copyright infringement papers against the moviemaker.

In February, a judge threw out a copyright lawsuit from artist Gerald Morawski, who claimed his paintings inspired the $2.78 billion-grossing movie.

After the victory, Cameron insisted, "It is a sad reality of our business that whenever there is a successful film, people come out of the woodwork claiming that their ideas were used. Avatar was my most personal film, drawing upon themes and concepts that I had been exploring for decades. I am grateful that the court saw through the blatant falsity of Mr. Morawski's claim."