With the recent release of Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers, the live-action/animated movie, people have been exciting pointing out the plethora of references and Easter eggs to film and media throughout the film. And while everyone is enjoying Ugly Sonic, one particular moment has been caught in a poor light: A scene referencing the Kingdom Hearts game series appears to have stolen a graphic from someones fan art.
To be more specific: There is a scene in the movie that shows evidence relating to missing cartoon characters. Among the collection of evidence, we see what appears to be Soras hair, just on its own. Sora, for those who might not know, is the main character from the Kingdom Hearts games.
At first, this was just a quirky little oh look, Sora died, lol moment. But some keen eyed folks
noticed some striking similarities to a piece of fan art made by DeviantArt user kimbolie12
back in 2015. And while not a perfect 1:1 copy and paste, the hair in the film does appear to have the near exact shape, ratio, and shading as the fan art.
And with that, the murky water and gray lines come in. Disney owns Sora as an IP, but they dont inherently own any and all fan art. The fan art is listed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License, which states that others cannot profit from it or modify it and profit from that. But at the same time, the fan art uses posing from another artist, and still is a clear reference to a Disney owned IP. The artist has also been silent on social media since 2018, so there is a possibility that Disney was granted special permission and we just dont know that. Theres a lot we dont know, so we arent going to definitively claim anything.
Either way, its messy. But it's also something that happens unfortunately often with movies. With the ease of image searching on the internet, producers for film, animation, games, television, etc, are finding references and graphics from people all over the country. And often times, they will use these images without following proper copyright processes. Sometimes it's on accident, sometimes it's intentional, done with the confidence of having a more expensive legal team than an as-a-hobby graphic artist.
Not bothering to just have their in-house art team slap together some Sora hair to use, were surprised that they didnt just use some official, Disney-owned artwork
of the character.