Disney "Let it Go" Lawsuit: Think Again


Disney "Let it Go" Lawsuit: Think Again
by Susan Basko, Esq.

Disney's movie "Frozen" made famous the song, "Let it Go."  The song was written by husband and wife songwriting team, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.  This duo has written many of the famous Disney songs.  A man named Jaime Ciero has filed a lawsuit claiming the Lopez songwriting duo copied a song he wrote in Spanish called "Volar," which was released in 2008.

Some people think the Lopez song does have similarities to the Ciero song.  But, hold on a second! A while back, I was mildly swamped with people saying that "Let it Go" was stolen from their song!  That got me to looking up other songs that sound very similar to "Let it Go," -- and there are quite a few.  I won't post any of the songs from the different people that contacted me, but I will post some of the many that I found that also sound like "Let it Go."

My conclusion is that "Let it Go" is not a very original song, and that it became famous because it was in a terrifically famous and beloved Disney movie.

Listen to some of the songs below and see what I mean.

You can listen to the Disney "Let it Go" above and to Jaime Ciero's "Volar" just below:



From 1974, we have Eric Clapton's "Let it Grow." Pretty similar, huh?

"Let it Go," written by James Bay, covered here beautifully by Austin Precario:

From 1978, Dave Mason, "Let it Go, Let it Flow":


From 1995, "Let it Flow," by Spiritualized:


"Let it Go," Ziggy Marley:

"Let it Go," John Kee:

"Let it Flow," Gates Praise:

"Let it Flow," Toni Braxton:

A Korean song, "Let it Flow," 2006 video:

From 1976, "Let it Flow," Tamiko Jones:

en Vogue, "Let it Flow":


In fact, the Harry Fox songfile has about 100 songs titled, "Let it Go."  The ones I have located tend to have lots of similarities to the Frozen song.  Below are the songwriter names and file numbers for the listed songs titled "Let it Go."

Who copied whom? Or did no one copy anyone?  I think a lilting chorus of "Let it go," or "Let it flow," or "Let it grow," or "Let it show" is going to sound similar in any context. In copyright, this might be known as "stock" or possibly as noncopyrightable material.  In the world of music or art, this might be known as building upon a genre or tradition.

The Lopez/ Disney song is famous and financially successful, not because it has similar words or music to many of these other songs, but because it is in a super famous Disney movie.

"Let it Go" songs from Harry Fox Songfile, with songwriter names:


L24848
S. HOFF, D. PETERSON, V. PETERSON, M. STEELE
L16365
STEVE TURRE
L24859
JOSEPH ELLIOTT, RICHARD SAVAGE, RICHARD JOHN CYRIL ALLEN, PETER ANDREW WILLIS, STEPHEN MAYNARD CLARK
L22269
TOM RUSSELL
L1906O
IAN STANLEY, ROLAND ORZABAL, KIRK FRANKLIN
L11742
JOHN P. KEE
L09527
ANGELA STONE, G. DEVEAUX, C. MOLE
L2011X
NICOLE ALBINO, NATALIE ALBINO, ELIJAH WELLS, LIONEL BERMINGHAM
L01879
KYLE, RAMBEAUX, BLOOM
L24855
LUBA KOWALCHYK
L24854
DON COOK, RAFE VANHOY
L16644
DAVID BURRILL
1001RE
DAWN TALLMAN
L16449
JERRY DOUGLAS, RONNIE BOWMAN
L2318X
M. RAE, S. CHRISTIAN, D. BENOIT, E. WILCOX, R. ROBINSON
L2445P
SCOTT BLASEY, GREG JOSEPH, DAVID MINARIK, ROBERT HERTWECK
L24857
JOHN ROSS LANG, STEVEN P. GEORGE, RICHARD JAMES PAGE
L24860
AKIRA TAKASAKI, MINORU NIIHARA, MASAYOSHI YAMASHITA, MUNETAKA HIGUCHI
L08445
B. FLOYD, I. NEVILLE, C. DRAYTON
L21699
K. MANTRONIK, J. FRANK
L01739
GERALD DASH TUSO, CHRISTIAN FUHRER
L2432P
LASHAWN AMEEN DANIELS, RODNEY JERKINS, KENNY PRATT, FREDDIE JERKINS
L01537
TENDER FURY
L1973M
JUSTIN SMITH, STEPHEN FISHER, DANIEL MURILLO, KRIS COMEAUX
L2281M
GORDIE SAMPSON, BLAIR DALY, ALAN THOMAS DOYLE
L24853
RICHARD RAYMOND FINCH, HARRY WAYNE CASEY
L2456G
DAVE BASSETT, DANIEL CHRISMAN, GRAHAM PATRICK COLTON
L24847
BILLY SMILEY, TOMMY SIMS, MARK GERSMEHL, RICK FLORIAN, GORDON KENNEDY
L16398
M. MARTINEZ, SCOTT STORCH, TRACEY MOORE
L01007
MIDGE URE
L01842
GARY RAMON GIPPS, GARY RAMON
L14744
T. FARAGHER, D. FARAGHER, B. HOWARD
L2114K
GLENN HUGHES
L1914D
ALONZO WANG, ROB WELLS, RUPERT GAYLE
L23972
DURRELL BABBS, S. ANDERSON
L2017N
S. MENDES, D. AMARO, S. NETO, R. POUNDS, N. WATTS, M. WATERS, B. AMARO, C. RODGES
L00004
FULL FORCE
L2276U
NICK BOLD
L19624
D. LILES, R. ALTIZER
L23088
JASON SELLERS, STEPHONY SMITH
L18725
ZIGGY MARLEY
L2221J
BEAN DOZIER, HOWIE DOROUGH, DAVID RYAN HARRIS
L2301W
DANIEL ALEXANDER HAVERS, CHRIS PAGE
L17447
PRIEST BROOKS, RICARDO BROWN
L2337Y
TODD RONNING, MARKUS WOLFE
L11169
BRAD, ANDY
L2395L
GABRIEL RIOS
L24850
M. SHARP
L1923X
RUSSELL TAN, KIMBERLY DEL FIERRO-HUFFMAN
L23431
EDWARD GREENEBAUM
L11513
DOUG HAVERTY, ADRYAN RUSS
L1962C
KENNETH NAVARRO
L2268G
ALEXANDRA DENNY
L24856
MICKEY NEWBURY
L24865
BENNY DANCY, DAVE GUSSOM
L24851
GREG SAGE
L24849
KROKUS STORACE, VON ARB, KOHLER, VON ROHR, GRIVELLI
L1921X
CHRISTIAN MOLLER NIELSEN
L2134F
ANDY ANDERSON, JEFF ADAMS, RENEE JACKSON
L2467D
FRED WILHELM, KEVIN FISHER
L1964I
PATRICK M. LANDREVILLE
L24846
AUSTIN CUNNINGHAM, THOM MCHUGH
L24852
JERRY FOSTER, BILL RICE
L2367Z
RICKY HANLEY, KURT RUSSELL
L2395X
GEORGE TEREN III, JASON BLUME
L24858
JERRY REED HUBBARD
L00919
CHIP KINMAN, TONY KINMAN
L2231C
DONNIE YALE, GYMMY THUNDERBIRD, FRANK BACKGAMMON, MURPHY UPSHAW
L10991
KARON PENNING
L2249S
MARK BENT, INGO NYAKAIRU, BOBBY ANDERSON, ANDY LOWE, ALAN AKEHURST
L25190
JIMMY CLIFF
L1927D
KAREN ASHE, GORDON DUKES
L2108E
KEVIN VONDERHOFFEN, CHRIS GRAFFAGNINO, RONNIE FREEMAN
L2231H
DAVID BALL, INGO VAUK, CHRIS BRAIDE
L2418L
STEVE DIAMOND, REBEKAH RYAN
L24861
JEFFREY DRESHER, DEIRDRE STEINSCHNEIDER
L2546W
ARISU SATO, TAKASHI SHOUJI
L1671I
GREG MATHIESON, RICK WHITFIELD
L1999Q
ROBBI ROBB, RICHARD STUVERUD
L2097H
LISA SIMMONS, CARSTEN SCHACK, KENNETH KARLIN, EDWIN SERRANO
L2122C
MATTIAS HALLBOM, JAKOB LARSSON, EMIL STENSTROM, DAVID LOFQVIST, JOHANNES HALLBOM
L2246S
SOLA ABDUL, GRAHAM KEARNS, MAGNUS HUBERT TWISLETON WYKEHA FIENNES
L2247V
PAUL TAYLOR, JOCELYN GUERIDON
L2260X
SANDRA NORDSTROEM, RICHARD ANDERSON
L2296T
WARREN HUART, MIKE FLYNN, NIKKI FLORES
L2334R
NICKOLAS G. CARTER, BRIDGET LOUISE BENENATE, MATTHEW GERRARD
L23430
EDWARD GREENBAUM
L2356R
DWAYNE NESMITH, PIERRE MEDOR, RICHARD PRESTON BUTLER
L2389F
TANYA LEAH, BRIAN NASH, KEVIN PAIGE
L2427O
SANDRO RUSSO, CECE ROGERS
L24770
BRENDA RUSSELL
L2516K
JUERGEN KRESCHEL, ROBERT MICHAEL NEUMANN