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Artist Jayme Gordon sued the Glendale, Calif.-based studio behind the 2008 animated blockbuster Kung Fu Panda, alleging he had registered Kung Fu Panda Power illustrations with the U.S. Copyright Office eight years earlier (see "TUOL" post 2/18/11). His 28-page complaint included counts alleging copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement.
Judge Tauro said a jury "must decide whether DreamWorks subsequently independently developed the film or whether Gordon's submissions influenced the process." Gordon claimed he submitted his work to DreamWorks before the film was produced. Also weighing against summary judgment, Judge Tauro found, was a question of fact regarding whether DreamWorks had access to Gordon's work before it green-lighted Kung Fu Panda.