“A federal grand jury indicted amateur cartoonist Jayme Gordon, 51, on December 16, 2015, alleging seven counts of wire fraud and perjury relating to a lawsuit Gordon had filed in 2011 against DreamWorks Animation.
Gordon had claimed that DreamWorks based its 2008 animated feature Kung Fu Panda on his Kung Fu Panda Power pitch, which he claimed to have submitted to DreamWorks previously. He abruptly withdrew his lawsuit in 2013 after DreamWorks attorneys confronted him with evidence he had traced his drawings from a 1996 Disney Lion King coloring book.
According to the indictment, Gordon saw a trailer for Kung Fu Panda in early 2008. Gordon then revised his Panda Power drawings and registered them as Kung Fu Panda Power with the Copyright Office in May 2008, prior to the June 2008 release of DreamWorks’ animated feature.
An expert witness for DreamWorks then pointed out to them that illustrations of Gordon’s pandas that were ostensibly dated 1992 and 1994 were in fact copied from a Disney coloring book that was not released until 1996. DreamWorks concluded that Gordon had backdated the drawings to try to strengthen his copyright claims against DreamWorks.
For the charges of wire fraud and perjury, Gordon faces up to 25 years in prison, six years of supervised release, and fines up to $500,000 plus restitution to DreamWorks. The FBI pointed out in its press release that actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. According to the federal indictment, DreamWorks spent approximately $1 million to defend the lawsuit, and another $2 million was spent by its insurance company.”
“Like Americans, Chinese audiences will be able to see Kung Fu Panda 3 on January 29, but unlike Westerners, Chinese moviegoers will be able to choose between two different versions of the film: the American version dubbed with Mandarin voice actors, and the ‘Chinese edition’ with new mouth movement and body language that matches the nuances of the Mandarin-language voice actors.
The extra animation in the Chinese edition also allowed the animation crew at Oriental DreamWorks to gain production experience on a major DreamWorks project without affecting the workflow of the main production. DreamWorks is developing its Chinese outpost with the vision that someday it will produce films independently of the American operation.”