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Disney slapped with copyright infringement lawsuit over Oscar-winning animated film Zootopia

On Tuesday, production company Esplanade Productions filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Walt Disney Pictures for its animated film Zootopia. The suit alleges screenwriter and producer Gary Goldman, who has worked on projects including Total Recall and Minority Report, has twice pitched a similar concept to Disney on behalf of Esplanade Productions, and that Disney used Goldman's ideas for Zootopia. The Associated Press reported Goldman said his vision was to "explore life in America through a civilized society of animals"; Disney's film "explores prejudice through a bunny's quest to become a respected police officer."

Disney has rejected Goldman's claims and said the lawsuit is "riddled with patently false allegations." "It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn't create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court," a Disney spokesperson said. Zootopia won Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards this year.