Disney and Pixar’s Onward isn’t even out in theaters, but they are already in a lawsuit over the film.
Particularly the van design.
According to Comicbook.com, artist Cecily Daniher has filed a suit against Disney/Pixar saying that they copied the design of her van, that she calls the “Vanicorn” without her knowledge or consent.
She might have some grounds here. Disney contacted her about renting the van back in September 2018 for a “special event” being told “the Vanicorn would be used for an event limited to ‘a one day music festival/activity day for Pixar employees and families’ and that the Vanicorn ‘would just be a show piece and not used in any way other than a visual prop.”
She was made aware that it was more than that on May 31, 2019.
The artist/owner of the Vanicorn has been posting about her ordeal on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
Well, SHIT! The producer of “Onward” just called me. She wanted to know HOW I’M FEELING…(?!) and to apologize…. she also wanted to tell me that they rented my van without disclosing their full intentions, or plans, and she’s sorry for that too. #disney #pixar just tried to smooth things over with a phone call, instead of putting their art dept to work, or asking. #Onward #corporateartsucks #justiceforsmallbusinessowners @vesta_dregs !!!!
According to Cicely Daniher, she was contacted by Kori Rae, the producer of Onward. Allegedly Rae was calling to apologize for not being clear about their intent.
“The Producer of “Onward” just called me. She wanted to know how I’m feeling…(?!) and to apologize….she also wanted to tell me that they rented my van without disclosing thier full intentions, or plans, and she’s sorry for that too. #Disney #Pixar just tried to smooth things over with a phone call, instead of putting their art dept. to work or asking.
Now some have pointed out that her van features a unicorn and the one in the film features a Pegasus. The designs are still quite different. But if it’s true that the producer called to apologize and they had rented the van with that in mind, against the contract, well it’s quite a questionable thing to do. Whether or not it’s illegal, well that’s for the courts to decide.
Disney is not stranger to odd “coincidences”. We had the famous Lion King case where it was eerily similar to Kimba the White Lion. There was also a lawsuit over Zootopia as well.
Daniher is suing for “copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act and violation of the California Artists Protection Act.” She is also asking the courts for an injunction to stop Disney from “promoting, selling, marketing, advertising, shipping, transporting (directly or indirectly) or otherwise moving in domestic or foreign commerce, any and all of the Defendants’ advertisements, promotion and/or merchandising materials and/or products, and/or the motion picture entitled Onward and products which infringe upon Plaintiff’s copyrighted work.”
The amount for damages would be determined in court. Disney is already merchandising the van “Guinevere” ahead of the upcoming release.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“Daniher’s lawyers, Jared Weinstock and J. Conor Corcoran, argue the contract for the van rental explicitly prohibits any photos, video or visual representations of the Vanicorn for any purpose other than that event.”
In their complaint they state:
“”[T]hey have altered this Plaintiff’s highly personal and public transubstantiation of her lifelong artistic interest in unicorns into the Vanicorn (a uniquely San Franciscan work of public, mobile, automotive art, and a redemptive and validating act of recovery from toxic masculinity and a former marriage) and which has, instead, been pilfered by the Defendants as a commercial and corporate conduit for the aspirations of a pair of blue boy elves looking for their father in a mass marketed Disney film, and was accomplished by the efendants under wickedly misleading pretenses.”
You can learn more about this case at The Hollywood Reporter. They even have a copy of the suit up at the bottom of their article.
Onward is scheduled to come to theaters on March 6th. I do have wonder if Disney would settle because they wouldn’t want anything to cause a date change after they’ve spent so much money and time on marketing already?
This case was filed on Monday so it just happened.
What do you think? Comment and let us know.
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