BOSTON — A cartoonist who falsely claimed that Dreamworks had stolen his idea to make the animated film “Kung Fu Panda,” was sentenced to two years in prison for fraud and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.
Jayme Gordon, 51, of Randolph, Massachusetts sued Dreamworks for $12 million in 2011 for copyright infringement, claiming the characters and artwork for the hit 2008 film had been ripped off from drawings and a story he had created years earlier.
But prosecutors said that after Gordon had seen a trailer for Kung Fu Panda, he altered older drawings he had made for a story called “Panda Power” to make them appear more like the film and then renamed the work, “Kung Fu Panda Power.”
Dreamworks rejected the claim and as the case made its way through civil litigation, prosecutors say Gordon deleted evidence from his computer and lied during his deposition. They say he also fabricated and backdated sketches to support his suit.
His scheme came unwound, however, when DreamWorks discovered that some of Gordon’s drawings he purported were from 1992 and 1993, had been traced from a Disney Lion King coloring book that wasn’t published until 1996.
At that point, Gordon agreed to withdraw his suit, which Dreamworks said it had already spent $3 million defending against.
During his trial, Gordon claimed that the Disney coloring book had also been copied from his work and that characters from the films “The Incredibles,” “A Bug’s Life,” “MegaMind,” and “Flushed Away” had also been stolen from him.
At trial it emerged that Gordon had a history of bipolar disorder and psychological problems. He was convicted in federal court in November, and at sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti Saris said she would recommend Gordon serve his term in a prison hospital.