Schwartz & Ponterio, PLLC holds lawyers responsible for legal malpractice.

Artist claims Disney used her van design, violated copyright law

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2020 | Copyright Law

When people think of a work of art, they often think of a painting or sculpture, but there are many other ways for artists to create. No matter what New York artists’ mediums may be, it is important that they are able to sell, distribute or otherwise profit off of their creations in whatever way they see fit. If another person or entity uses an artist’s work without permission, it can be financially devastating, as the artist did not have the chance to benefit from the usage. This is the claim of one artist who says that entertainment giants Disney and Pixar used her unique design for a passenger van in their upcoming animated feature “Onward,” in direct violation of copyright law.

According to the artist, Pixar hired her back in 2018 to bring her van, called “Vanicorn,” to an event for company employees and their families. The artist’s van is modified to resemble a unicorn and she says that she has had significant commercial success with it in her area. The artist says now that Disney/Pixar’s newest animated film features a character that is a copy of her van design. She claims that the character vehicle is even the same year, make and model as Vanicorn.

The artist has named several defendants in a lawsuit that alleges copyright infringement. She is seeking damages and wants to prevent the media companies from profiting off her design in any way. None of the defendants have released a statement to the media regarding the matter.

Whatever the outcome of this particular case may be, it only highlights how important it is that artists of all types ensure that their work is legally protected. Copyright law exists to help give them that protection. Artists here in New York who have questions or concerns about protecting their art may want to consult an attorney who specializes in copyright law.