Canadian director claims Disney/Pixar stole 'Inside Out' in copyright infringement suit

By Charmaine Little | Jun 21, 2018

Canadian director, cinematographer and editor Damon Pourshian recently filed a copyright infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging Disney/Pixar’s "Inside Out" was stolen from a short film he wrote while in college.

Pourshian said in his copyright infringement lawsuit, which is seeking a jury trial, that he filed June 18 that he wrote a short film called "Inside Out" when he was a student at Sheridan College in the fall of 1999. The film was displayed around the campus and won the first ever People’s Choice award at the school the following year. 

In the filing, he said he was surprised to notice similarities in Disney/Pixar’s "Inside Out," that was released in June 2015, and his film. He then discovered several links between the movie studio and Sheridan College, such as the idea that a handful of students from the school later worked on the Disney/Pixar movie. Pourshian also stated several of his former classmates called him about the similarities after the film hit theaters.

Pourshian said in the suit that he owned the copyright to the major motion picture. While Pourshian created the film in Canada, he acquired a copyright for "Inside Out" in the U.S. Copyright Office on June 11, 2018. He stated the film is “substantially similar” to his movie from the content and theme to the characters displayed as well as the identical titles.

He also stated the color palettes, a similar red button pressed for emergencies, and the idea of both films having ”five personifications” for the main character as some of the similarities.

Pourshian also stated the defendants had access to the movie considering former students who attended Sheridan College at the same time as Pourshian went on to work on the film.

While Pourshian didn’t state the specific amount he is suing for, he requested the court award him the profits the defendants received that were connected to the film as well as damages and attorneys’ fees and costs. Disney/Pixar’s movie went on to bring in more than $300 million in the U.S. and $800 million worldwide.

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