Author feels chill after Frozen claim dismissed

Joe Seer /

Joe Seer / – A US judge has ruled that Walt Disney’s animated film Frozen did not infringe copyright belonging to a New Jersey-based author.

In a ruling handed down at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, Judge William Martini accepted Disney’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by Isabella Tanikumi.

Tanikumi’s lawsuit, filed last year, centred on her memoirs, one of which is called Yearnings of the Heart. According to Tanikumi, it described her family’s struggles in the Peruvian Andes.

Released in 2013, Frozen centres on Anna, a mountain man, and his reindeer and their journey through the winter countryside to find her sister.

In the lawsuit, filed on September 21, Tanikumi claimed that there were 18 instances of “characters, plots, sub-plots and the storyline” being lifted from her work.

For example, she claimed the settings of “snow-covered mountains” were too similar and that both her work and Disney’s film centre around two sisters with opposite coloured hair.

Tanikumi sued Disney for $250 million in damages.

But in his February 19 opinion, Martini said that any similarities are not substantial and that the two stories are “entirely different”.

Issuing his opinion, Martini said: “Most of the 18 similarities are tenuous at best. The closest similarities are the themes of intense sisterly love and the concealment of a personal characteristic of which the protagonist is ashamed.”

Martini added: “The setting, plot, and characters have no close similarities.”

Frozen earned an estimated $110 million worldwide in box office sales on its opening weekend, in November 2013.

Disney did not respond to a request to comment. Tanikumi could not be reached for comment.

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