Newest ‘Inside Out’ Lawsuit Claims Pixar Plagiarized Student Film


The new animated Disney/Pixar film Inside Out takes us inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl — a mind controlled by five emotions, each voiced by a different actor. From left: Sadness, Anger, Fear (behind Anger), Disgust and Jo

The latest in a series of separate lawsuits filed against Disney·Pixar over the film, Canadian producer Damon Pourshian is alleging that the idea for 2015’s Inside Out originated with a student film of the same name that he released in 2000. He is seeking compensation for copyright violations in the form of unspecified damages and the addition of his name to the credits.

The story of Inside Out revolves around Riley Andersen, a young girl whose mind is represented by a quintet of anthropomorphic representations of her emotions: Anger, Fear, Joy, Disgust, and Sadness. Pourshian’s film, which began as a project for a script-writing class and was also titled Inside Out, shows a young protagonist being influenced by five body parts: Brain, Heart, Colon, Stomach, and Bladder. It is the personalities of these characters and how they influence their main characters that are the basis for Pourshian’s claim.

His initial script was written in 1999, eventually turning into a student film of the same name. This occurred while Pourshian was attending Sheridan College, known as a “feeder school” for Disney and Pixar. Many of the students attending classes at Sheridan with Pourshian would move on to jobs at those studios. According to the suit, it was among these former classmates that similarities were noticed. The Wrap provided quotes from the suit,

Indeed, he received unsolicited calls from old Sheridan classmates who were aware of Mr. Pourshian’s Inside Out and immediately saw the striking similarities between the two works. After learning of the many connections between the screenings of his work on campus in 2000 and Disney/Pixar discussed below, Mr. Pourshian came to the conclusion that Disney/Pixar infringed his copyright in his work.



Even the titles of the two works are identical, stating concretely the theme of both works–the outside world of the protagonist and how that world is connected to the normally unseen inside world. Both works depict the details of how their protagonists’ inner worlds experience the outer world, and both do so by representing the driving forces of their protagonists’ behaviors as anthropomorphized, internal characters who are reacting to (and interacting with) the world outside.

Disney·Pixar has already been involved in litigation over Inside Out. A recently-dismissed lawsuit by child development specialist Denise Daniels alleged that she had given Disney the idea of color-coded emotions when she pitched her show “Moodsters” to them numerous times between 2005 and 2009. Just three weeks ago, lawsuits were filed from two separate sources claiming that ideas for the film were taken from their books: George Malki for his online novel Daycare of Feelings and Carla J. Masterson for the books What’s on the Other Side of the Rainbow and The Secret of the Golden Mirror.

Source: The Wrap

Image: Disney·Pixar




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