How the original 'Winx Club' took on the Disney behemoth in court and won copyright infringement battle

While many kids grew up on 'Winx Club', in April 2004, Disney filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Rainbow accusing them that the series's concept was copied from Disney's 'W.I.T.C.H' comic

                            How the original 'Winx Club' took on the Disney behemoth in court and won copyright infringement battle
'Winx Club' (IMDb)

While many kids grew up on 'Winx Club', it was interesting that in April 2004, Disney had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Rainbow accusing them of copying the concept from Disney's 'W.I.T.C.H' comic. Though the lawsuit was filed, 'W.I.T.C.H' was published more than a year after 'Winx Club' began its production.

The Italian-American animated series, 'Winx Club', was created by Iginio Straffi and has been part of the TV for a while now. It premiered on January 24, 2004. 'Winx Club' was later part of the Nickelodeon's franchise Nicktoons after the owner of Nickelodeon, Viacom purchased 30 percent of the animation studio Rainbow SpA. Voice actresses such as Elizabeth Gillies and Ariana Grande also became part of the series.

Seasons five to seven were produced between Rainbow and Nickelodeon. There was a four-year hiatus after season 7 of the series, and season 8 made its debut in 2019. Straffi had left the series by then. 'Fate: The Winx Saga', a live-action adaptation of Winx Club for young adults, was announced in 2018. It will make its debut on Netflix on December 22, 2021.

'W.I.T.C.H' is an Italian comic series written by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa that was first published in April 2001 by Disney Italy. The final issue of the comic was released in October 2012 with series 139.

According to online portals, Disney had planned to stop more releases of the series through an injunction order. Apparently, they believed that the 'Winx Club' trademark was "invalid". Much to the happiness of fans, Rainbow ended up winning the lawsuit that Disney filed against them because they were able to prove that the series had begun production in 2000, while 'W.I.T.C.H' was released in May 2001.

Many thought that the battle was unfair on Disney's part with one Reddit user writing, "But I think Disney was being unfair. They're both magical girl things. So of course there will be similar aspects and concepts. In my opinion Disney were being petty. Just for the purpose of conversation, there have been many accusations against Disney for copy such works as lion king and more recently inside out from other artists/creatives."

Another added, "Winx was out before witch so they really had no basis to be coming after them like that honestly. Winx was in production ever since the late 90s and finally debut in the mid 2000s. If anything witch could have easily been modeled after winx club." A Twitter user also said, "disney took winx club to court by shamelessly accusing them of plagiarizing w.i.t.c.h but later got inspired by the success of winx club to establish their own franchise of fairies. absolutely pathetic. also, the disney fairies are as bland and stale as loaves of expired bread" bringing up the issue years later."


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