Publicity stunt or copyright infringement?

The first thing that caught my eyes in the headline was the word “Peruvian” and the next one was “author.” I couldn’t believe it. The life experiences of a girl growing up in a Peruvian Andean town were the inspiration for the Disney movie Frozen? Really?

I have never heard of Isabella Tanikumi or about her autobiography before. But a quick check on her book’s product page on Amazon told me what people thought about her suit: a publicity stunt, a quick grab for money, a lot of money. And her book is being booed with 1-star reviews. All I can think is that if this is a publicity stunt, it’s going to be a very expensive one. I don’t think book sales will ever cover her attorney’s fees, and as for her reputation as a writer and as a person… she might need to come up with a new pen name if she’s planning to publish again.

When I told my sister about Ms. Tanikumi’s lawsuit, she said, “What? She can freeze people and knows talking snowmen?”
I replied, “No, not that part. She’s suing over the sister relationship part.”
“Well,” my sister said, “other people have that kind of relationship too.”
My sis has a point, which made me think that it would be outrageous if Amy Tam were to sue everybody who has written a novel about Chinese-American mother-daughter relationships.

Without having read Ms. Tanikumi’s book and without having watched the movie Frozen (I confess I may be in the 1% of the population who hasn’t watched it yet), I can’t make any judgments about the validity of her arguments. This could be just another frivolous lawsuit. But I do wonder. If she’s a sane, rational person, why would she decide on such a course of action–a course that is attracting ridicule and will be financially and emotionally costly to her–unless she really feels her copyright has been infringed? I’ll keep an open mind on this one.

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