Disney’s Frozen did not, it turns out, rip off a New Jersey author’s story about her life in Peru. Isabella Tanikumi filed suit in October against Disney regarding Frozen, saying that the film was a takeoff from her memoirs, particularly one titled Yearnings of the Heart. This particular version depicted her family’s struggles in the mountainous region of Peru, and the author was seeking more than $250 million from Disney because of Frozen.
When Disney’s Frozen lawsuit was first filed, it made headlines around the world, but it appears the author is never going to get her money, thanks to a New Jersey judge.
“The similarities she alleges between her memoir and (Disney’s) ‘Frozen’ are not substantial. The two stories are entirely different,” U.S. District Judge William Martini wrote in an opinion dated February 19, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
This ruling came about because Disney had filed a motion to dismiss the Frozen lawsuit, and the judge granted that motion this week. Martini’s opinion apparently is largely based on previous case law that says, “General plot ideas and themes lie in the public domain and are not protected by copyright law.” This is despite the fact that Tanikumi had sent a list of 18 different similarities between Disney’s Frozen and her writing.
NJ.com reports that even this list wasn’t enough to convince the judge that the giant corporation had ripped off the author.
Martini specifically addressed the list, saying “The ‘plagiarism summary’ in her letter complains of 18 alleged thematic similarities, none of these involve magic powers or icy Nordic kingdoms.”
One of the claims was the author’s close bond with her sister, who was later killed by a drunk driver. Those who have seen Disney’s Frozen might realize that no such scene ever takes place in the film.
Finally, the judge said that the themes that are expressed in Yearnings of the Heart are vastly different from the beloved animated film. This was the reason he ruled in favor of the defendant. Strangely enough, this isn’t the only legal case surrounding the movie. Earlier this winter, an arrest warrant was issued in Harlan County, Kentucky, for Elsa. The warrant was apparently issued because the county blames the snow queen for the uncharacteristically cold weather Kentucky has been facing this year. While this warrant was likely issued in jest, it’s safe to say Disney is very used to having Frozen be at the center of legal drama.