LOS ANGELES – A child development expert from Minneapolis has filed suit against The Walt Disney Company, alleging that the movie giant used her ideas without compensation for Pixar’s hit “Inside Out.”
“Inside Out” is about an 11-year-old girl whose family moves from Minnesota to California. Inhabiting her mind are the anthropomorphizations of five emotions, each painted a specific color. Joy is yellow, Anger is red, Sadness is blue, Fear is purple, and Disgust is Green.
The problem arises in that the suit’s plaintiff, Denise Daniels, consistently pitched a similar idea to The Walt Disney company from 2005 to 2009.
In the lawsuit, Daniels describes her vision for a children’s program called “The Moodsters.” Moodsters are also color coded anthropomorphizations of emotions, though they acted as detectives in order to help children sort out their feelings.
Coz is a yellow Moodster representing joy or happiness, Razzy – red for anger, Snorf – blue for sadness, Quigly – green for fear, and Lolly – pink for love. “The Moodsters” website currently showcases a series of children’s toys and books revolving around these characters.
The lawsuit alleges that Daniels met with a number of senior executives at The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2009, seeking to find support for making a children’s television show out of the concept. Daniels’ team had gone so far as to produce a pilot episode.
In those meetings Daniels believes Dinsey violated long standing industry practices.
“Daniels, individually and through her team, provided ideas and materials to Disney Pixar for sale in exchange for compensation and credit if Disney Pixar used such ideas or materials,” reads the lawsuit. “Under the circumstances, and consistent with the custom and common practice in the entertainment industry, Disney Pixar accepted the disclosure of the ideas in The Moodsters with an expectation that it would have to compensate Daniels if Disney Pixar used this idea in any television, motion picture, merchandise, or otherwise.
Daniels alleges that Disney used the concept of “The Moodsters” in the creation of “Inside Out” and the company’s failure to compensate her for the idea means, “Disney Pixar has materially breached, and continues to materially breach, its implied-in-fact contract with Daniels.”
Daniels is seeking an unspecified amount of compensation and damages, to be determined in court, as well as an award of any legal fees.