Texas Trial & Business Law Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Disney Defeats Frozen Copyright Lawsuit

Isabella Tanikumi, whose pen name is L. Amy Gonzalez, sued Disney pro se in New Jersey for $250 million alleging copyright infringement over Disney's Frozen. Tanikumi alleges that Frozen is a rip-off of her self-published memoir "Yearnings of the Heart," not the 1844 book "The Snow Queen" written by Hans-Christian Andersen. Tanikumi's memoir is about growing up in Peru and the bond she had with her sister. U.S. District Judge William J. Martini found the lawsuit "tenuous at best." He further opined that "[c]opyright law protects expression, not ideas. The themes that both appear in ‘Frozen’ and ‘Yearnings of the Heart’ are expressed in vastly different ways. The setting, plot, and characters have no close similarities. No lay person could find that Disney improperly appropriated from ‘Yearnings of the Heart’ because copyright law does not protect the generic, thematic elements of Tanikumi’s work.” Disney is fighting another copyright lawsuit over Frozen in California where a filmmaker alleges infringement of the copyright over an animated short film called "The Snowman." Disney lost its motion to dismiss in that case.





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