Disney Wins ‘Santa Paws’ Copyright Lawsuit
Ray Harter, Richard Kearney and Ed Corno sued the media giant for copyright infringement last year, claiming that Disney’s direct-to-DVD movies Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws and The Search for Santa Paws were direct rip-off’s of their short story and script Santa Paws: The Story of Santa’s Dog. According to the plaintiffs, they conceived of their “Santa Paws” in 1991.
While there are similarities between Disney’s movies and the plaintiffs script, a ruling on Thursday granted Disney a summary judgment in favor of the studio, citing that the short story Santa Paws is not “substantially similar” to Disney’s version.
The court ruling did acknowledge the similarities between the two stories – for example, both feature a talking dog named Santa Paws or close to – but states that the majority of the similarities are not protected by copyright law. In addition to the dismissal of the copyright lawsuit, the court also dismissed a civil conspiracy claim.
A layer for the plaintiffs, Albert Watkins, said that “It appears the Court’s opinion was well thought out, consistent with legal precedent and crafted eloquently.” However, he went on to state that they will be looking into “alternative appellate action.”
As of this writing, Disney has not responded to the dismissal of the suit.