Another day, another lawsuit filed by someone who says that the 2015 animated film “Inside Out” is a rip-off of their own idea.
Disney and Pixar have been hit with a lawsuit by a Canadian man who says that the hit film infringes on his copyright for a work bearing the same title, among numerous other similarities.
The suit, filed in federal court in California by Damon Pourshian on Monday, says that Pourshian wrote a script titled “Inside Out” in 1999 as part of a script-writing class and that the script was turned into a short film the following year.
According to the suit, the school where the work was created, Sheridan College, “has sent large numbers of its graduates to work at Disney and Pixar and is considered a ‘feeder’ school for Disney and Pixar.”
“When Mr. Pourshian saw Disney/Pixar’s ‘Inside Out,’ he noticed striking similarities between his work and that of Disney/Pixar,” the suit reads. “Mr. Pourshian later learned of the many connections between his alma mater, Sheridan College, and both Disney and Pixar, including a number of students who were at Sheridan College at the time his short film was shown and went on to work on Disney/Pixar’s ‘Inside Out.'”
The suit states that Pourshian’s script and film “each tell the story of the reactions of a boy named Lewis to events in his everyday life, illustrated through anthropomorphized representations of his bodily organs that influence (and react to) his actions, as seen from the inside of Lewis’s body. ‘Inside Out’ shows Lewis’s outside world as well as an interior world in which his organs react to the outside world and with each other. The first internal character we see is the personification of Lewis’s brain, who operates in a command center using a complicated control desk within Lewis’s body to command Lewis’s interactions with the outside world. Lewis’s internal characters–Brain, Heart, Colon, Stomach, and Bladder–communicate and squabble with each other. Each has distinct personality and influences Lewis’s actions in various ways.”
According to the suit, Pourshian isn’t the only one who noticed the similarities between his short film and the animated hit.
“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,” the suit reads. “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.”
The suit goes on to list numerous “striking similarities” between the two works.
“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,” the suit reads. “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.”
TheWrap has reached out to a Disney spokesperson for comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages and for Pourshian’s name to be added to the “Inside Out” credits.
Mere weeks ago, Disney and Pixar were sued by Nevada woman Carla J. Masterson, who said that “Inside Out” infringes on her book “What’s on the Other Side of the Rainbow?” and another work of hers, “The Secret of the Golden Mirror.” That lawsuit was preceded by a 2017 complaint filed by a child development expert who alleged that the premise of “Inside Out” was lifted from her own children’s program, which “aimed to help children identify, express, and manage their feelings in a healthy and developmentally appropriate way.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.