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Disney faces new claims of intellectual property theft

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2018 | Intellectual Property

College is a time to work out new ideas and make plans for the future. Since the atmosphere is often alive with creativity and the campus full of like-minded people, university life may spark many original ideas and give rise to inspirational projects. Far from dismissing those projects as the concepts of an immature mind, many graduates from New York institutions and those around the world find that the finished work is intellectual property worth protecting.

However, one creative director has taken a filmmaking giant to court over the alleged theft of his intellectual property. In a lawsuit filed in another state, the man claims that Disney/Pixar creators used his college screenplay project “Inside Out” as the basis for their 2015 animated release of the same name. In fact, the plaintiff claims Disney/Pixar did very little to alter the original work, including using the same title, plotline and characters.

The plaintiff notes in his lawsuit that numerous people credited in Disney/Pixar’s film as working in animation and other jobs were classmates and instructors of his at Sheridan College in Toronto at the time he was working on the screenplay. Students in the man’s television production course chose his screenplay to produce, and the short film won an award at the college’s Media Arts Show in 2000. The plaintiff became aware of the similarities when former classmates contacted him after seeing the 2015 Disney/Pixar film.

Protecting one’s intellectual property is critical for those who work in creative fields. Copyright laws exist to encourage writers, artists and others to continue bringing new, inspired works to the public attention. When someone in New York believes his or her work has been misused by another for financial gain, that artist has every right to pursue legal action with the assistance of an attorney.