‘Zootopia’ Lawsuit – Talk Your Way Out of This One Disney

Disney is usually the one suing – PLOT TWIST – now they’re being accused of stealing Gary Goldman’s ideas for the hit animated movie “Zootopia”.

Image Credit: https://cdn-ssl.s7.disneystore.com The fox (Nick) left, The bunny (Judy) right.

Nick’s facial expression sums up the situation perfectly in this photo, yikes. Variety Senior Media Writer, , reported on the story (I encourage you to read the whole story there because this post touches only on the high points). Goldman, screenwriter of “Total Recall”, allegedly claimed that he brought forward the idea of “Zootopia” back in 2000, and again proposed the idea in 2009, but Disney turned down his pitch. Allegedly, Disney stole everything including the theme, the character designs, some lines of dialogue, and the name “Zootopia”.

This is a serious accusation because copyright infringement is a serious crime. It involves stealing creative work that is not your own and putting your name on it (long story short). An artist expresses their voice and ideology within their creations. Similar to public speakers, each one is unique in the way they present or write a speech. For example, standing up in front of a crowd and giving the iconic Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech as your own would be copyright infringement. Don’t believe me? The Atlantic had this to report in 2012,

If you weren’t alive to witness Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington Mall 48 years ago this week, you might try to switch on the old YouTube and dial it up. But you won’t find it there or anywhere else; rights to its usage remain with King and his family. …

At the family’s Web site, videotapes and audiotapes of the speech can be purchased for $10 a piece. The family controls the copyright of the speech for 70 years after King’s death, in 2038.

Needless to say, a violation of creative work is a serious accusation which is what Disney is facing today. Disney of course straight up rejected the claim. However, the evidence that Goldman is bringing to the table is hard to deny – good luck getting out of this pickle Disney.

Like any major player, Disney came forward and said,

“Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations,” the spokesman said. “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.”

In brief, Goldman’s live-action film “Looney” included animated animals living in a complex human society which included a hierarchical structure based on characteristics of species. This was registered with the Writers Guild of America, West, in August 2000. Disney’s character designs bear a strong resemblance to Goldman’s character designs, and as for the stolen dialogue, Maddaus reported:

In Goldman’s treatment, a character says, “If you want to be an elephant, you can be an elephant.” In Disney’s version, Judy says: “You wanna be an elephant when you grow up? You be an elephant. Because this is Zootopia. Anyone can be anything.”

As the evidence begins to build against Disney, other comments are being made on the internet about Disney’s authenticity. Here are a few, out of the many, responses to this story:

And let’s not forget our skeptics:

Since the story broke this morning, select reporters who have Tweeted the story are receiving high numbers of engagement. For instance, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety:

So what are your thoughts? Is this copyright infringement? A blatant violation of creative work? Please share your thoughts below or Tweet me @cayla_renee

Warmest Regards & Mahalo


2 thoughts on “‘Zootopia’ Lawsuit – Talk Your Way Out of This One Disney

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