Published: 21 Mar 2018
There have been several notable plagiarism lawsuits impacting the film and music industry in the last several years, but Disney Studios is facing multiple plagiarism lawsuits, coming from a variety of sources that are seeking $250 million in damages.
The first of the lawsuits was filed by singer Jaime Ciero, and involves the song sung by millions of little girls worldwide. Ciero is suing Disney, along with singers Idina Menzel and Demi Lovato, claiming that the top song from the 2013 blockbuster Frozen is based on his song Volar. Pointing to similarities in note combinations, melodies, themes, and more that he sees between his original and Disney’s hit, he is seeking $250 million in damages. In his suit, Ciero claims that his song was “a huge international success reaching millions of listeners and landing on numerous charts of the most popular, top-performing songs." A quick check on YouTube reveals that the video of his song has been seen just shy of 15,000 times, while the Frozen video has been viewed 1,249,399,612 times. The Disney song Let It Go was written by the song-writing team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and her husband Robert. Robert Lopez is one of only 12 people to have ever won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
The suit filed by Ciero is not the first that Disney has faced. In 2015, U.S. District Court Judge William Martini dismissed another $250 million plagiarism lawsuit filed by author Isabella Tanikumi, who claimed that the movie’s story is not based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, but instead is a plagiarized version of her self-published autobiography titled Yearnings of the Heart. Tanikumi offered 18 examples that she claimed proved that the story characters and tone of her work were stolen by Disney. The judge dismissed the case, indicating that the stories were “entirely different” and that the similarities were “tenuous at best.” Another author, Kuwaiti Muneefa Abdulah, claimed that the film represented plagiarism of her 2007 story, “The Snow Princess.”
Film Production companies can find themselves exposed to allegations of plagiarism, unauthorized use of ideas, characters, plots and more; other claims may cite unfair competition or breach of contract. Though many of these cases are simply dismissed, others progress to an eventual jury trial or settlement out of court that requires payment to the plaintiffs. Film Errors and Omissions Insurance protects producers from these risks and more, covering the costs of investigation, settlements and defense. It can give financial protection against mistakes and allegations including:
La Playa’s experienced brokers can provide you with the guidance and information you need to make sure you have the right level of coverage at the right premium. Contact us today to learn more.