I’m sorry, but the longer this goes on, the less seriously I can take it
For those of you just joining us, ZNN has been covering the ongoing developments of the legal case filed by Esplanade Productions and Gary Goldman against Disney, claiming that they stole his ideas to create Zootopia. We’ve pointed out several reasons why this is just absurd, from Goldman not filing for a copyright of his “ideas” until a year after Zootopia was first released, the sheer lack of content proving the existence of this concept despite having “worked on it” for almost a decade before production of Zootopia even began, and how he claims copyright of basic character archetypes.
Despite Disney filing a motion to dismiss the case, Esplanade Productions is not giving up. They have now filed an Opposition to Disney’s motion to Dismiss. And I’m sorry, but some of the arguments they make is absolutely hysterical (in my opinion).
I’ll discuss why this is one of the most unintentionally funny legal documents I’ve ever read after the break. However, for now, you should know that a hearing date has been set: June 26th. At that time, the judge will review the case, and decide if it is substantial enough to hear in court. You can find the original article on this development in The Hollywood Reporter, and you can read the entire Opposition here.
First, they still keep emphasizing that Goldman’s movie was called “Zotoopia”, despite evidence suggesting it was actually called “Looney” and contained a live-action component. Considering they have yet to produce anything like a script or even a copy of the original pitch… yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Secondly, they identify the people that Goldman claims to have pitched his idea to all those years ago: David Hoberman and Brigham Taylor. Now, these guys probably are completely innocent in all this. They likely get hundreds upon hundreds of pitches for movies every year. And they have produced many excellent movies for Disney. Sure, they’ve had their flops (Hoberman was a producer on Beverly Hills Chihuahua in 2008) but they’ve also had their hits too (the new, Live-action Beauty and the Beast is Hoberman’s most recent success, and the live-action Jungle Book is Taylor’s).
But as obviously connected to the Walt Disney Company as these two are… there’s no evidence they ever had any influence over Walt Disney Animation Studios, nor is there any evidence that they were on close terms with people who did. If it had been Michael Eisner or Bob Iger, that would have been a completely different matter, but as far as we can tell, Hoberman and Taylor were not in a position to tell the team at WDAS about this movie pitch they’d heard a decade ago while Zootopia was in production.
However, the funniest part of this opposition is their descriptions of what makes the Goldman story “Highly Original”. I could go on and on about how ridiculous this is, but I’ll just summarize a few of my favorite points that they claim are unique to Goldman’s story, and are therefore infringing on his rights when they are portrayed in Zootopia.
- The setting of a society of animals, where species interact freely, with the technology of the present day and class and power structures based on animal’s characteristics.
- Hero’s parents homes and workplaces in small towns where the heroes grow up and eventually return
- “Institutional workplaces, with tough bosses, where the heroes succeed and fail”
- Media venues
|Courtesy of RobCivecat|
|ZNN staff pictures by Quirky-Middle-Child, who very clearly is much better at designing distinct characters with apparent personalities than whoever Goldman hired to design his characters.|