Disney Must Defend 'Frozen' Trailer Claim
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge ruled that Disney must face claims that its trailer for the animated movie "Frozen" infringed the copyright of another movie.
"Frozen," Disney's latest 3D animated movie, depicts a young girl and a group of friends who save their kingdom from being frozen forever by the girl's sister, the powerful snow Queen. It earned more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide.
In March, Kelly Wilson sued the Walt Disney Company and its affiliates for copyright infringement in federal court.
Wilson claims Disney infringed on her copyrighted movie by making a trailer that featured the same plot as her short movie. Wilson's film is about an "average Joe" snowman who loses his carrot nose and tries to make sure it does not end up in the hands of some hungry rabbits. She claims that Disney's trailer uses the same plot but instead of rabbits, the snowman character, Olaf, tries to keep a moose from making the nose into a snack.
Disney moved to dismiss her claims but U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria thought otherwise.
"The motion to dismiss the claim that the 'Frozen' teaser trailer infringes upon Wilson's copyright in 'The Snowman' is denied," Chhabria's ruling states. "Although Disney is correct that differences exist between the works [particularly with respect to pace and mood), their plot and sequence of events have too much in common for a court to conclude that 'no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of ideas and expression.'"
Chhabria did, however, strike Wilson's claim that other trailers affiliated with "Frozen" infringed upon her copyright.
"The complaint does not identify these other trailers or allege which protected elements of "The Snowman" they copy," the four-page ruling states.
Wilson is represented by J. Paul Gignac with Arias, Ozzello & Gignac of Santa Barbara.