Skip to comments.NJ Diving Dentist Says 'Nemo' film was his idea
Posted on 02/17/2005 4:12:51 AM PST by beaversmom
NEWARK, N.J. -- A scuba-diving dentist says Disney and Pixar Animation Studios stole the idea for the hit film "Finding Nemo" from him.
In a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Newark, Dennis G. Sternberg, 56, of Allenhurst, said he used experiences as a diver to create an underwater adventure story for children in 1991. He called his story "Peanut Butter the Jelly Fish."
He claims he submitted an illustrated manuscript to Disney and talked on the phone about his story with a writer from Pixar. (The two companies have a distribution partnership.)
A Disney vice president told Sternberg in 1996 that although the story had "great potential," it did not fit into the studio's "development slate" at that time, according to the suit.
Seven years later, Sternberg was in a movie theater and saw a preview for the upcoming release of "Finding Nemo."
"I thought, 'Hey, I'm the scuba-diving dentist. Those are my characters, that's my story,"' he told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday's editions. "It made me sick to my stomach."
One big similarity: Sternberg story has a character named "Nimo."
The suit claims a violation of federal copyright laws, in addition to fraud and misrepresentation, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. It claims the companies "have intentionally, knowingly, illicitly and slavishly copied plaintiff's protected works in whole or in substantial part."
Before Sternberg submitted his manuscript, Disney had him sign a two-page waiver that said he would be entitled to only $500 if he were to claim that the company used his material without permission or authorization. The lawsuit asks the court to void that waiver.
Neither Disney nor Pixar would comment when reached by the newspaper Tuesday.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
A little less than the cost of a root canal.
You signed WHAT???
He better not quit his dentist day job......
Dang dentists. Always trying to rip people off.
And if "Nemo" had been a big flop, I'm sure this guy would have pressed the suit anyway, right?
I have an idea about this guy, see, and there's a mystery, and a thing that everybody wants, and there's a car chase, and explosions...
I'm gonna be RICH!!!
The 'Disney' brand used to mean something. It's a shame to see what it has turned into. I really miss Walt.
"Before Sternberg submitted his manuscript, Disney had him sign a two-page waiver that said he would be entitled to only $500 if he were to claim that the company used his material without permission or authorization. The lawsuit asks the court to void that waiver."
Sorry, dude, but I've got no sympathy for you if you signed such an agreement.
And he just now noticed that Nemo had coppied his story.
His family needs to send him to detox while there is still hope.
If he had to sign that before Disney even looked at his material, then that should have been a huge tip-off that they were going to take advantage of him.
Disney has more sleazy lawyers than this guy can afford. Too bad. He'll lose.
Spielberg lost a a suit over ET because it was stolen from a one-act play where the alien charecter said "Phone home". This guy is probabl right and the doc he signed is probably unenforcable.
Disney Rep: Please sign this Mr. Sternberg.
Mr Sternberg: What's this?
Disney Rep: Oh nothing really. Just a release form we'll whip out in the event we decide to break the laws we expect everyone else to obey but see no reason to obey ourselves.
That's my kids' favorite! Can I have your autograph?
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