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Disney sued over alleged song theft on Frozen II soundtrack

By | Published on Thursday 3 November 2022

Frozen 2

An artist and songwriter has sued Disney claiming that a song which appeared on the soundtrack to 2019’s ‘Frozen II’ movie ripped off a track he wrote and released via his own label Pelican Records all the way back in 1999.

The alleged rip off song is ‘Some Things Never Change’. According to Daniel E Grigson, it is basically a rework of his song ‘That Girl’. Indeed, his lawsuit claims, the similarities between his song and the ‘Frozen II’ song “are so striking that they can only be explained by copying”.

Grigson’s legal filing provides the background to the release of ‘That Girl’ in 1999 and also talks through his wider work writing music for and with children. That includes various releases via his Pelican Records label plus some projects that had a presence on YouTube and social media.

‘Some Things Never Change’ was written by husband-and-wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The chances of them, and especially Robert, having heard Grigson’s output is high, the lawsuit reckons, because he has “publicly admitted he always loves to listen to other songs that could be useful to draw inspiration from and loves watching any kind of YouTube”.

A big chunk of the lawsuit analyses the allegedly similarities between the two songs, partly based on Grigson’s own analysis, but also based on the work of one of those expert musicologists, Robert Tomaro. Though, so similar are the two songs, Grigson states, both he and his then eleven year old daughter immediately spotted the rip off when they first watched ‘Frozen II’.

The songwriter “first heard the song ‘Some Things Never Change’ while attending the film ‘Frozen II’ during the week after its release on 27 Nov 2019”, the legal papers explain. “As the song was being performed, he involuntarily stood straight up, turned to look at his wife, and then at his kids, his eyes wide open as saucers”.

“The close similarity to his own work ‘That Girl’ was so striking to him that it caught him off guard, the beat, rhythm, feel, theme, words”, it goes on. “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'”.

Grigson wants a formal declaration from the court that ‘Some Things Never Change’ is a rip off of his song, and that therefore both the Lopezes and Disney infringed his copyright. He would also obviously like lots of lovely damages, the specifics of which are left unspecified.

We await Disney’s response.