Judge Rules Against St. Louis County Men in "Santa Paws" Lawsuit Filed Against Disney
|Photo by Nicholas Phillips|
|Al Watkins and Santa Claus, before a federal court hearing, asking: Where is the real Santa Paws?|
In granting Disney summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry conceded that there were indeed some "abstract similarities" between the recent Disney features and the 1991 storybook created by St. Louisans Ray Harter Jr. and Ed Corno (a third plaintiff, Richard Kearney, now lives in Tennessee).
For example, both works involve an orphaned dog who gets adopted by Santa and saves Christmas. Then there was also something about a magic icicle (?).
But on the balance, Judge Perry wrote, Disney's DVDs "are not substantially similar to any protected expression in plaintiffs' story."
|Al Watkins and Santa Paws: The Stuffed Dog|
Then over a decade later, the DVDs came out. The men found out and filed the suit last December.
However, apparently that the case didn't progress far enough for any of this to be an issue.
Watkins did e-mail us this statement:
It appears the Court's opinion was well thought-out, consistent with legal precedent and crafted eloquently. That being said, my clients disagree with the subjective findings giving rise to a resounding victory for Disney. Tinker Bell should be very proud.