Originally Posted by bacon
Sure they both had birds on wires, but beyond that there isn't really any similarities. It might make it to court, but it wouldn't have any merit, there are just far to many differences to really say that anything was stolen.
Birds sit on wires. It's just one of those things.
The only other character is a big gawky different bird sitting on the pole trying to figure out how to fit in with the other birds. There is your concept. Another similarity you can't deny is the humorous action. The bird has a big pendulous body that swings back and forth as it flies. And the way the birds hop along the line in groups is also identical. In both movies the little birds don't like the big bird because he obviously isn't cool. The posing of the shots is almost identical. It certainly didn't have to be. And the film ends with the little birds in particles. The concept is the same. The actions are the same. The characters are the same. The setting is exactly the same. Just sky clouds, blue sky, and two telephone poles and a long quick establishing shot showing the scene. So the real difference is the big bird lands on the line and weighs it down resulting in the birds trying to peck him off. Funny thing is the film was working up to this point because it made sense until then. Big as the bird was he wasn't so big as to sink the line. And how weird to have him end up hanging upside down.
If Pixar had never been to see the film I could dismiss it as coincidence. But Pixar was there and helped vote the film to first place. So not only did they see it but they liked it. They noticed it. (I am assuming they did vote for it or strongly considered it) You can argue the specifics of the story are different. My argument is they wouldn't steal it outright. Then they would have a lawsuit on their hands for sure. But the core of the original film was there.
A good argument to use against me would be to point to any other animated film in the history of film...(or live film) where little birds are on telephone/power line hopping in groups. Or even easier show me a cartoon character with a big pendulous bird the flies who happens to have a big head, a skinny neck, a big beak, and flies like a sack of sand being swung back and forth during a drinking song at an octoberfest. Even one example might dent my case. Any Warner, Disney, Bluth, Anime, Miyazaki, Nicktoons, Cartoon network, Jay Ward, Tex Avery, Clutch Cargo, or Saturday morning cartoon that looks a lot like this or shares a similar story or plot will do. That's what lawyers do is produce examples showing how common this is. With sixty years of animation to look back on I personally can't think of one story about groups of birds sitting on wires hopping about. Can you?
We all can accept the concept an animated story can be inspired from past works. But what was the impetus to tell this story. What can we point to? I think we can point to Stevie Wermers.