Disney Unable to Melt away Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Concerning Frozen Trailer
July 31st, 2014 by Michael Lee
On Tuesday, July 29, 2014 U.S. District Judge, Vince Chhabria, denied Disney’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit, Kelly Wilson v. The Walt Disney Company, et al.,. In Kelly, the Plaintiff, Kelly Wilson alleges that the Disney essentially copied the digital short film Wilson created called The Snowman for their Frozen teaser trailer.
Judge Chhabria, in his order wrote “Although Disney is correct that differences exist between the works… their plot and sequence of events have too much in common for a court to conclude that ‘no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of ideas and expression’”.
The clip at issue shows a snowman that loses his carrot nose. The nose slides to the middle of a frozen pond where the snowman and an animal try to recover the nose. The animal wins and eventually gives the nose back to the snowman. While the tone of the two shorts is different – The Snowman is “somewhat dour while the [Frozen] trailer is goofy”, the overall sequence of events led to the denial to dismiss the lawsuit.
Wilson also claims that the movie Frozen, other Frozen trailers and that the snowman character in Frozen infringed upon The Snowman’s copyrights. These claims were dismissed.