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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 17:22 GMT
Disney sued in France over Nemo
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is one of the top 2003 hits worldwide
A French children's author is suing Disney, saying the international box-office hit Finding Nemo may have been lifted from his own work.

Writer Franck Le Calvez says many characters in the film look very much like those of a book he published last year, Pierrot the Clown Fish.

He is demanding a ban on any product imitating his Pierrot brand.

Disney insists Nemo was an original creation, and does not infringe any trademark or copyrights.

Mr Le Calvez says that he registered Pierrot the Clown Fish with France's copyrights body in 1995.

At the time he tried to approach French animation studios but his idea was turned down, he says.

Unsold copies

In 2002 he financed the publication of 2,000 copies of the book himself.

The similarities are sufficiently troubling for us to ask for an explanation from Disney
Pascal Kamina
Copyrights lawyer
Mr Le Calvez says Nemo - who is also a clown fish - appears to be based on Pierrot.

"We have also found the same supporting characters, such as a surgeon fish and a cleaner shrimp," his lawyer Pascal Kamina told AFP news agency.

"The similarities are sufficiently troubling for us to ask for an explanation from Disney."

If no answer is forthcoming, Mr Kamina says, his client will press ahead with his lawsuit in France.

Mr Kamina adds that many bookstores have refused to stock the Pierrot book, because of the interest generated by Nemo-related products.

Mr Le Calvez is suing both Disney, which is distributing Finding Nemo, and the animation studio that produced the film, Pixar.

Disney, in a statement quoted by Le Monde newspaper, denies any plagiarism.

"The allegation is totally baseless - Finding Nemo is a work that belongs to Pixar and Disney and an independent creation," the statement said.

Nemo smashes DVD record
06 Nov 03  |  Film

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