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Did Disney “Steal” Zootopia?

You hear about Disney going after people all the time for copyright infringement, but you don’t hear about many people going after them. Most of the suits go quiet because Disney has a HUGE legal team and the money to support them. They also have the money and time to keep any legitimate claims tied up in court for as long as they like. Usually what happens is that it gets settled out of court, such as the case where Kelly Wilson filed suit against Disney for infringement rights on her short film “The Snowman.”

Disney is now facing a copyright suit from someone with a little more clout and credibility in Hollywood, Gary L. Goldman. Gary’s credits include writing Total Recall, Next and Big Trouble in Little China. He was also a producer for Minority Report and Next.

The suit claims that Disney “ripped off” ideas that Mr. Goldman pitched to Disney on two separate occasions.

“Twice — in 2000 and 2009 — Goldman, on behalf of Esplanade, pitched Defendants his Zootopia franchise, which included a live-action component called Looney and an animated component called Zootopia. He provided a treatment, a synopsis, character descriptions, character illustrations and other materials. He even provided a title for the franchise: ‘Zootopia.’ Instead of lawfully acquiring Goldman’s work, Defendants said they were not interested in producing it and sent him on his way. Thereafter, consistent with their culture of unauthorized copying, Defendants copied Goldman’s work. They copied Goldman’s themes, settings, plot, characters, and dialogue — some virtually verbatim.”

The complaint even provides artwork as examples of blatant copying:

 

At least from what I can see, he has a case. Disney’s response at this time is, “Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations. It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court.

What do you want to bet that this will also be settled out of court?

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