That's cold: 'Frozen' ripped me off, author claims

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
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Detroit — An author sued Walt Disney Co. in federal court Monday, claiming the hit movie "Frozen" ripped off her short story about a snow princess.

Kuwaiti author Muneefa Abdullah alleges "Frozen" copied plot elements, themes and characters from her children's story "The Snow Princess," most notably Elsa, the princess who has the power to turn people into ice.

The copyright infringement lawsuit, which was filed in Detroit's federal court, seeks unspecified damages.

"She wants money," Abdullah's lawyer, Mohamed Zaher, told The News on Tuesday. "She's not looking to harm anybody. She believes ("Frozen") was her idea and it was stolen."

Released in 2013, "Frozen" has grossed more than $1.27 billion worldwide and millions more in books and toys. A sequel is planned.

A Disney spokesperson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

According to press coverage, "Frozen" screenwriter and co-director Jennifer Lee was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Snow Queen."

But Abdullah claims "Frozen" ripped off her story.

Her story "The Snow Princess" was published in the compilation "New Fairy Tales" in 2007 by Trafford Publishing.

The publishing firm later became part of Random House Publishing, which employed Lee for eight years, according to the lawsuit.

"Lee's history with Random House Publishing, as well as the fact that 'New Fairy Tales' has been available for sale through websites such as Amazon beginning since 2007, gave Lee reasonable opportunities to observe 'New Fairy Tales' and 'The Snow Princess' before she began screenwriting 'Frozen' in 2012," Zaher alleges.

Lee is also being sued by Abdullah, who her lawyer says is a popular author in the Middle East.

"She is credible. She's a multimillion dollar lady," Zaher said. "She's not coming out of nowhere."

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2028

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