Disney copyright lawsuit advances in Canada

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A Canadian judge gives the green light to a copyright lawsuit against Disney after an animation student claims the company stole their idea for Inside Out.

Copyright lawsuit against Disney advances in Canadian court after Sheridan College graduate claims Disney stole idea for Upside down, an animated blockbuster that grossed over $ 850 million worldwide.

As reported by the National post, Damon Pourshian is suing Disney for copyright infringement in an Ontario court, claiming that Disney and his animation studio copied his student film, also titled Upside down, to create his animated blockbuster. The similarities, according to Pourshian, “extend from title to general themes, to minute and specific details – none of which can be the result of coincidence.” In the lawsuit, Pourshian asked the Canadian court to declare that he owns the copyright to his student film, film script and live production and that the defendants (the Walt Disney Company and others) violated its copyright by creating the blockbuster. The lawsuit demands an injunction, damages and that the name of Pourshian be added to the credits of the film.

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On July 12, Divisional Court Judge Lise Favreau ruled that Pourshian’s case could go ahead despite Disney’s initial argument that Ontario lacked jurisdiction over the majority of the named defendants. The judge also ordered the defendants to pay Pourshian $ 25,000 in legal costs.

In his statement, Pourshian wrote: “It is clear that the counterfeit work (the Pixar film) reproduces the inventive and central concept at the heart of the original works: the behavior and actions of the main ‘external’ character, a school-child. of age, are controlled by five “internal” characters who work together and fight against each other to help the external character navigate their daily life. ”Pourshian Upside down tells the story of a young boy named Lewis and “how his behavior is controlled by five organs, each personified as a character: the brain, stomach, colon, bladder and heart.” , Disgust and Sadness strongly reflect Pourshian’s characters in terms of temperament and design.

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Pourshian does Upside down while at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. The short film received several screenings on campus and won the Audience Award at the school’s annual showcase. The visibility of the short film is a major point of the legal battle. Because Sheridan College is known for producing high-quality animation talent, the school’s student projects may appear on the radar of American filmmakers and studios, according to Pourshian. Additionally, he pointed out that four of his former classmates worked on Disney’s Upside down, although they were not named as defendants in the lawsuit.

This is not the first time that Disney has been sued for copyright reasons. In 2017, screenwriter Gary Goldman, author of the years 1986 Big problem in little China, continued the studio on the concept for Zootopia and recently comic book creators Ben and Raymond Lai filed a new lawsuit alleging that Disney stole an Iron Man armor design. This lawsuit isn’t even the first time Disney has been sued for Upside down, having faced a legal battle with author Carla J. Masterson in 2015.

Judge Favreau’s ruling is a major victory for Pourshian, although no trial date is currently scheduled.

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Source: National Post

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