Disney has now been put in the possibly awkward position of complaining about “overzealous copyright holders,” and talking about the importance of user rights and fair use to protect free speech and the First Amendment. No, really.Disney, of course, owns ABC. Back in May (though the complaint appears to incorrectly state March), ABC aired a two-hour program entitled The Last Days of Michael Jackson. The Michael Jackson Estate was not pleased and sued for copyright infringement. The complaint itself is quite a read.
The Michael Jackson Estate is suing the Walt Disney Company and ABC for using dozens of its copyrighted works without permission. According to Disney, no harm has been done, since including these works in “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” documentary is “fair use.” The Estate clearly disagrees and notes that Disney’s argument would make even the founders of Napster pause.
So this guy is going to make copies of intellectual properties belonging to Lucasarts/Disney for profit, and doesn’t expect any problems with that…
Studios commonly offer movie reviewers advance screenings of their movies so they have time to write their reviews (Ars included) before the movies become available to the general public. The Los Angeles Times is the paper of record for the Los Angeles metro area, so you’d expect its writers to have easy access to these movie screenings. But in a Friday tweetstorm, LA Times writer Glenn Whipp said that Disney had banned the paper from screenings of movies like Thor: Ragnarok in retaliation for its critical coverage of Disney’s relationship with the city of Anaheim, home of Disneyland.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has gone into an early and bizarre anti-piracy overdrive. Earlier this week a fansite posted an image of a ‘Rey’ action figure legally bought in Walmart but it was taken down by Facebook and Twitter following a DMCA notice. Meanwhile, webhosts are facing threats of legal action.
The best way for Hollywood to defeat piracy is by making content available, legally. To further this effort dozens of video on demand services have been launched throughout the world. However, not all of these services are happy with how the major studios treat them, and today we hear why.
The account below comes from an employee of a mid-sized video on demand (VOD) service in Europe.
To avoid repercussions from the major studios the author prefers to remain anonymous
It takes a lot of skill to turn hugely-profitable films into net losers, and Hollywood studios have it down to an art form — one that’s often more creative than their sanitized retreads and ultra-safe franchises and reboots.
Lucasfilms, now owned by Disney, produced several Star Wars films, amassing billions of dollars. But the actor who played Darth Vader has never received any residuals from The Return of the Jedi, which was the 15th highest-grossing film of all time as of 2012. Low-budget hit The Exorcism of Emily Rose grossed $150 million on a $19 million budget. And yet, its director has yet to see a cent of his residuals, which were supposedly 5% of the net profit. Somehow $131 million just… vanished.
No matter how much is exposed about Hollywood’s complete bullshit it calls an accounting process, it will seemingly never stop screwing over everyone but the studios themselves. It’s apparently far more profitable to simply weather the criticism and occasional lawsuit.
Speaking of the latter, Richard Dreyfuss has just filed a lawsuit against Disney over missing What About Bob? residuals. His co-complainant, Christine Wagner, is the widow of the producer of Turner & Hooch. Both have a problem with the way studios do math. Both tried to bring in a third-party to take a look at Disney’s books, and both were shot down by the studio. (h/t to Techdirt reader techflaws)