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Disney Gets Sued By Artist For Copying Her Painted Unicorn Van For Pixar Film
By Thanussha Priyah, 04 Feb 2020
Image via IMDb
San Francisco-based tattoo artist Sweet Cecily Daniher is suing Disney, Pixar and Kori Rae, the producer behind upcoming Pixar animated film Onward, on the grounds of reproducing her unicorn-painted van without her permission.
The complaint sent out by Daniher’s lawyers details that the studio allegedly copied her “superlative work of automotive art.” The “tremendously cool, dark blue and/or purple 1972 Chevrolet G10 van, with red shag carpeting, red velour walls and seating, and a white shag carpet roof” has been in the artist’s possession since 2014.
Besides describing her “lifelong artistic interest in unicorns,” the documents explain that her artwork sports a unicorn, strokes of lightning with an outer space theme and overall “mythological visual milieu.”
It also states how the vehicle, dubbed as ‘Vanicorn’ by Daniher, was rented to Pixar after it was requested by Jane Clausen, a representative from the company, back in September 2018.
The vehicle was supposedly lent out as a “visual prop” for an event exclusive to Pixar’s employees and family.
However, in May 2019, Daniher noticed a van named Guinevere in Onward’s promotional materials that struck resemblance with her ‘Vanicorn’.
The wheeled character’s finish sports a similar color scheme, a moon by the window, and Pegasus.
According to the letters, the film’s producer Kori Rae called Daniher back in June 2019 to apologize for using ‘Vanicorn’ as the muse for Guinevere. She also allegedly admitted to have intentionally avoided informing her about the inspiration, as the production team had no title for the movie at the time, which made it impossible for her to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Pixar continued to promote the Guinevere character through merchandise and toys. During Disney’s D23 Expo in August 2019, a life-sized replica of the van was also glorified.
Finally, in December 2019, Daniher’s lawyer Conor Corcoran obtained an official registration for “Vanicorn” under the US Copyright Office. Corcoran told The Art Newspaper, “I’ll be in the theater counting how much time the van is on screen,” in order to match the rightful percentage of profits attributed to Daniher.
Onward revolves around two elf siblings voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, and will hit theaters on 6 March 2020. The full lawsuit can be found below.
[via The Art Newspaper, images via IMDb]
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