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Disney settles song-theft dispute in relation to Frozen II track

By | Published on Friday 25 August 2023

Disney and the creators of ‘Frozen II’ song ‘Some Things Never Change’ have settled a legal dispute with an artist who accused the film studio and songwriters of song-theft.

Legal reps for both sides in the dispute had previously told the court that a settlement was close to being finalised. With that settlement seemingly now reached, the judge overseeing the case this week declared that the litigation was “dismissed with prejudice, with each side bearing its own attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses”.

Daniel E Grigson claimed that ‘Some Things Never Change’ – written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – ripped off his song ‘That Girl’, which he wrote and released via his own label Pelican Records all the way back in 1999.

Grigson’s lawsuit, filed with the courts in California last year, set out the alleged similarities between the two songs, citing one of those expert musicologists.

It also added that, so striking are the similarities, when Grigson first saw ‘Frozen II’ with his family and heard ‘Some Things Never Change’, he “involuntarily stood straight up, turned to look at his wife, and then at his kids, his eyes wide open as saucers. He sat back down with his head in his hands. His eleven year old daughter leaned over to him and said ‘Dad, Disney took your song’”.

However, some technicalities hindered Grigson’s litigation. Ownership of the song copyright in ‘That Girl’ is complicated because of past bankruptcy proceedings, and while Grigson controls the sound recording copyright, the plaintiffs argued that there was no evidence at all that the earlier track had been sampled in any way.

With that in mind, in May this year, the judge dismissed Grigson’s claim in relation to the ‘That Girl’ sound recording, but gave him the option to submit an amended complaint.

However, according to Law360, parties on both sides then agreed to go into mediation in July, from which this week’s settlement presumably emerged.