1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Is Disney thawing in the public glare of fan fiction?

It seems that Disney may be softening it's approach to perceived copyright infringements in the form of user generated content and fan fiction and other fan created content. A number of bloggers have noticed that people from all over the world have taken copyrighted content from “Frozen”, Disney's hit animated movie, including the infectious song “Let It Go” and have uploaded content onto YouTube and other social media - postings that undoubtedly infringe Disney’s intellectual property - fair use or no fair use. 

On YouTube, you can find versions of “Let It Go” that are sing-alongs, mashups, covers and parodies. Some of these videos have "racked up millions of pageviews". But it seems that there has been a shift at Disney -  rather than viewing the postings as mass piracy - Disney has let it stand with no known DCMA takedowns. Interestingly, one blogger noted that Disney’s own efforts to establish an online presence has thus far only had a lukewarm reception - until the company recently purchased Maker Studios, a company that produces YouTube videos, tapping into amateur creators to provide content and it maybe that Disney has accepted the popularity of fan-created content - as a way to expand the brand and engage fans. That said - Disney’s position on copyright infringement won't have softened completely. Whilst Disney may well be aware of the anecdotal evidence that the same people who are buying soundtracks and merchandise and DVDs for Disney movies are the same people who are making and sharing YouTube videos - the company has always battled to protect (and extend) it's copyrights - from Mickey Mouse to Bambi, From the Little Mermaid to Beauty and The Beast - and indeed just after the cinema release of Frozen the company took immediate legal action when Phase 4 Films changed the name of one of it's own films, The Legend of Sarila,  to Frozen Land, seemingly repackaging their DVD release with some rather similar artwork along with a new logo and new promotional material - to allegedly mimic Disney's movie - and Disney say this:

The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries own the intellectual property rights to the characters, brands, titles and properties popularly associated with the Disney name and with Disney's affiliates. This includes a large number of titles, characters and other elements from Disney's television programs, feature-length motion pictures, animated productions, publications, games and music.

Disney takes the enforcement of these rights very seriously. We protect these rights so that we can continue to provide quality entertainment that measures up to the standards that our audience has come to love and expect. We welcome reports of suspected infringement of any of these rights. Please direct reports to us via one of the following methods:

More here http://blogs.findlaw.com/celebrity_justice/2013/12/disneys-frozen-lawsuit-claims-trademark-infringement.html


1 comment:

dougsarchaeology said...

One reason for leaving up fan videos on Youtube is because Youtube now allows people/companies to claim the advertisement revenue of mashups, fan work, etc. that uses their original work. Those millions of views and associated ad dollars/pounds/euros are most likely going into the pockets of the mouse, not the "creators" of the new work. Now Disney has an incentive to leave such work up on Youtube.