Shia LaBeouf may face legal action for plagiarism over a short film he made.
The Transformers actor could be taken to court after being accused of the "blatant" borrowing of another artist's story for his project Howard Cantour.com without giving proper credit.
Shia's project, which debuted online on Monday, December 16, follows the story of a troubled internet film critic, and is extremely similar to a 2007 graphic novella by artist Daniel Clowes called Justin M. Damiano.
According to the New York Daily News newspaper, Clowes declined to comment, but his publisher Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds claims the artist "is exploring his legal options."
Eric told the publication: "LeBeouf changed the name of the main character, but he used the comic as a direct script and storyboard. Clowes has a real melodramatic voice that is very idiosyncratic and LaBeouf just used the dialogue word for word. There is no ambiguity.
"There is no way that anybody wrote this but Dan Clowes. It just defies any kind of logic or good sense. This was so blatant and inexcusable that it was as baffling as it was appalling."
Shia has since apologized for copying ideas from Clowes in a heartfelt statement posted online, admitting how "embarrassed" he feels about the situation.
He wrote on Twitter: "Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.
"In my excitement and naivete as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation.
"I'm embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration.
"I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded. (sic)"
Howard Cantour.com has since been taken off the net.