August 3, 2020

Another Win for Disney in ‘Inside Out’ Copyright Case

The Ninth Circuit rejected another copyright lawsuit against Disney • Pixar’s animated film "Inside Out," on August 3, 2020. 

The lawsuit addresses the plaintiff’s claim that the Disney stole from her book of poetry and unproduced screenplay for the 2015 hit film “Inside Out.” Affirming a ruling issued in 2019, the appeals court ruled that the district judge had the right to toss out the case based on his own assessment and “common sense” and that the ruling did not require any expert testimony to demonstrate copyrightability.

This win comes on the heels of another victory in March 2020, when the Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling in favor of Disney • Pixar, saying that a different plaintiff’s anthropomorphized characters called “The Moodsters” failed to meet the threshold requirement of copyrightability. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling affirming this victory was praised by a leading treatise as “a master class in character copyright law.”

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys Erin Cox and Anne Conley represent Disney • Pixar in this copyright matter.