Disney Appreciation Student Group Told They Can't Get Together To Watch Disney Movies

from the hurray-for-IP-law dept

Via Copycense, we learn that the students who formed the Disney Movie Appreciation Club at Washington University in St. Louis recently had to shut down the club due to threats of IP infringement, because the students were gathering together to watch the legally obtained movies, without getting a proper license for showing it to a larger group of people (rather than just a few people). The link above decries how separated IP laws have become from their intended purpose when a group of true fans of Disney movies can't even get together to watch them, without having to get some special license:
It makes no more sense to prohibit the viewing of a movie by multiple people than it does to prohibit the viewing of a portrait by multiple people. The people watching these films are not evil, conniving scammers out to claim Disney's films as their own. They are simply fans of Disney movies who want to take a break from studying and relax with a few friends.... Ultimately, however, I am not on a crusade against all forms of copyright. I just want to watch my movies in peace.
And, another generation of students is learning how copyright is so often abused, not to create incentives for content creation, but as a tool of control.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    Good!

    "And, another generation of students is learning how copyright is so often abused, not to create incentives for content creation, but as a tool of control."

    And hopefully, some of those students will become future lawmakers and some of this crazy stuff will reach a much-needed realistic balance point!!

     

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  2.  
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    Daylyn (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Since it is an appreciation group. Wouldn't a lot if not the majority of the members own their own copy of the legally purchased movies they are watching? If 50 people watch 1 screen and 25 people own that movie, is that not the same as compared to 25 tv's showing the same movie, with individual copies, with 50 people watching?

     

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  3.  
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    lavi d (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Time to go Guerilla

     

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  4.  
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    lavi d (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Time to go Guerilla

    Oh crap. Never mind, the guy in the story pays a fee to show the film.

    I think large crowds of people randomly showing legally purchased films to each other for free would be really wonderful.

    Would the MPAA hire roving bands of armed thugs to beat up fans, smash projectors and overturn cars?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    Happened to us too!

    We used to have a Disney™ and WarnerBrothers® Appreciation parties too, but one of my guests, a lawyer, was having trouble paying his mortgage in this turbulent economy and decided shut us down last month.


    So now when we host weekly Microsoft Windows7® Parties, sans neighbor.

     

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  6.  
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    nastybutler77, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Thank God!

    Thank God for our present copyright! I now have the motivation needed to create my own animated films, safe in the knowledge that groups of people who appreciate my work can't steal from me by watching in groups. Wheew! What a relief!
    /sarcasm

     

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  7.  
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    Vic, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Great news for Disney!

    Somebody please contact Disney to congratulate them with an outstanding victory over the pirates! No good deed fun club should go unpunished!

     

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  8.  
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    meh, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    How many?

    So....exactly how many people can I invite over to watch a movie....without becoming a criminal?

     

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  9.  
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    Jay, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    It's a matter of time

    I predict that the time is coming when a group of people can't watch movies in thier own home without a licence. This whole copyright thing is getting out of control. The bottom line is greed. And it won't be just Disney, but all movie studios. This nonsense needs to stop before it gets out of control.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    Re: How many?

    Exactly one.

     

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  11.  
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    Charles, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Happened to us too!

    How sad. But it's nice you found another corporate sponsor for your parties.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    I'm surprised the university doesn't already pay some type of licensing to be able to show whatever videos they want.

     

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  13.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    My university used to have a movie marathon during finals which was a really enjoyable way to relax. You knew that no matter the time of day or night, there would be a movie showing and a bunch of people to enjoy it with. However, we got letters from the MPAA with the result of a) someone springing for the public showing fees or b) everybody going to buy the movies we would have otherwise watched c) people moving away from movies as entertainment during that time? The answer was c.

     

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  14.  
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    thomas, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Re: How many?

    You are probably in violation if you have group of friends come over on Sunday to watch football on your 70 inch screen and they bring beer and pretzels (that's admission!).

    whole thing is dumb.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: How many?

    Don't forget, you also have to have the consent of the network carrying the game and the National Football League.

     

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  16.  
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    icepick314, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: How many?

    haven't you heard NFL DID shut down gathering of people to watch the game in several churches?

     

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  17.  
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    DJ (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    So wait are saying that if 25 people own a copy, and each watches that movie with a friend (total 2 ppl per viewing), that's the same thing as 50 people watching the movie in the same room? That's ridiculous! The math just doesn't match up!!!

    /biting sarcasm

     

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  18.  
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    DJ (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Time to go Guerilla

    Are you suggesting they don't already do that?

     

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  19.  
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    DJ (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Re:

    This isn't enough to push me over the edge, but I'm about to call for a nationwide boycott of all movie theaters; even second-run theaters.

     

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  20.  
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    Donald Duck, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    All the students had to do was call a 800 number and there is a fee that they/the school can pay to play any Disney movie they want.
    http://www.mpaa.org/Public_Performance.asp
    I am not saying that this is stupid or not, but these are the laws...

     

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  21.  
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    DJ (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Re:

    The whole point is that, because SOMEONE already paid for a copy of the movie, they shouldn't HAVE to pay anything else; especially since the club is watching for enjoyment, not charging to the general public for profit.

     

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  22.  
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    Scott Gardner (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Can't understand...

    When exactly is the tipping point where a content creator goes from wishing/hoping/praying that someone would watch their creation to actively preventing people from watching it? It must be nice to have enough money to feel safe alienating your fans.

     

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  23.  
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    Pjerky, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    If they were smart...

    If they were smart Disney would send them a small collection of their Disney films along with a bag of merchandise and coupons for popcorn. They should then include a letter apologizing for this, thanking them for being such big fans, and asking them to enjoy more of their movies.

    But that is only what a responsible, smart business would do.

     

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  24.  
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    zenasprime, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Disney died...

    ...with Walt. Sad but true.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 7:32pm

    Studlife? Really? That's what they named their website?

     

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  26.  
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    scarr (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 8:09pm

    Would Disney try to break up a child's birthday party if they did something as crazy as watch a Disney movie?

     

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  27.  
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    Perry K (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 8:12pm

    hmmm

    From the link:

    "The Disney Movie Appreciation Club, an organization that was set up with the goal of providing an outlet to relieve overly stressed students, had to be closed down recently due to potential license infringement."

    The article is thin of facts. Who shut down the club? The university or the club itself or Disney? And why? Was the club charging admissions for watching the movies or in any other way potentially making a profit?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Fuck it! I am going to have a Disnet Party with 100 people and show movies that I downloaded to them all.

    FUCK YOU DISNEY!

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:07pm

    Get with the program, Disney!

    Does Disney sue groups that watch ABC?

    Hell, I am sure this happens on an almost nightly basis!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    So if I invite some friends over to watch a movie I must obtain a separate license now?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Serves them right for trying to appreciate such a corrupt organization like Disney. They deserve to get destroyed by the very corruption they support.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    Re:

    please don't, Disney does not deserve your free promotion.

     

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  33.  
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    Mechwarrior, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 6:07am

    There is a conspiracy involving Disney's frozen corpse somewhere in this story.

     

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  34.  
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    Whatever, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Home Theater?

    What about people with home theaters; seats that can hold 20 or more people? Do they have to get a license for every movie shown at home to a group of friends?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Mickey Mouse, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 6:32am

    "What is a "Public Performance?"
    Suppose you invite a few friends over for dinner and a movie. You buy or rent a movie from the local video store and view the film in your home that night. Have you violated the copyright law by illegally ?publicly performing? the movie? Probably not."

    But suppose you took the same movie and showed it to patrons at a club or bar you happen to manage. In this case you have infringed the copyright of the movie. Simply put, movies obtained through a video store are not licensed for exhibition outside of the home. Home video means just that: viewing a movie at home by family or a close circle of friends.

     

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  36.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 7:28am

    Re:

    > Suppose you invite a few friends over for dinner and a
    > movie. You buy or rent a movie from the local video store
    > and view the film in your home that night. Have you
    > violated the copyright law by illegally publicly
    > performing the movie? Probably not.

    Straight from the link DD provided. I love the "Probably not", like its a grey area. If it was, EVERY SINGLE PERSON would be a criminal, because we've all watched a movie with friends. Stupid MPAA.

     

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  37.  
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    Rick Sarvas, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 7:52am

    facts plz

    From what I can discern about this article, I think this is where the group most likely got into trouble...

    http://www.mplc.org/faq.php
    http://www.showamovie.ca/acquisition/umbrella_licensing.p hp

    Now, with the info from the above links in mind, what is missing from the source article (and from Mike's as well) on Student Life are some important facts such as...

    * Was admission being charged?
    * Where were the movies to be shown (in a dorm or in the school auditorium)?
    * What was the size of the intended audience?
    * Had an Umbrella License been obtained (I'm also surprised the school didn't already have one)
    * Was this "IP infringement" due to the showing of the movies or something else entirely, like duplicating printed material for distribution in the club.

    Mike, care do do a bit of research on this article and post the results? I'd be very interested to know if Disney was being heavy-handed against a few kids watching Disney movies in the dorm common room (doubtful) or Disney stopping a movie marathon from being run in the school auditorium.

     

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  38.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Re: It's a matter of time

    This nonsense needs to stop before it gets out of control.

    So, you consider where we are now *not* out of control? Interesting.. :)

     

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  39.  
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    MattP, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re: facts plz

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Chris, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    A way around it

    Have a professor present, and consider it part of a teaching session. If it's part of face-to-face education activity, it's exempt from copyright law as long as it was purchased lawfully.

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#110

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Rick Sarvas, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: facts plz

    Yeah, some real facts, thank you MattP. That link would have been much more useful than the one originally provided.

    So, looking at the link provided by MattP, the whole problem seem to be that the group wanted to screen Disney movies at a place called Ursa's Nitelife (http://ursas.wustl.edu/) without getting spending the money for an Umbrella License. In fact, it appears that Disney wasn't even involved at all in the matter - it was the Washington University administration that put a stop to it. Further, the group seems to have just given up rather than been "shut down". Granted, what good is a movie club if you can't screen movies on a big screen.

    This story kinda looses it's point once you realize that there's no Big Media corporate element involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: facts plz

    Oh please, it's the big corporations that lobby for these sorts of broken laws and their enforcement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: A way around it

    Even better - in the UK - make it an examination then you are completely exempt from copyright law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    nifty, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    University movies

    They have lost a lot of money by driving the business underground. I wonder if they even realize what is currently going on? They are upset about a public movie marathon or fan clubs and it just results in people taking the next path of least resistance.

    My son goes off to college and in order to use the internet they have to install monitoring software that ensures they dont use P2P and monitors usage, files, etc. A lot of colleges do this at the request of the MPAA and RIAA to avoid the lawsuits. His college was sued a few years back.

    I guess that is supposed to keep people from sharing. So I visit him in his dorm and they are watching a movie in the common area off of a 1.5 terrabyte hard drive full of movies...it is the 'dorm' A-H title back up. They swap the hard drives with other dorms, other colleges across the country, and with the troops. They have several terrabyte drives filled from all over the country using snail mail between buddies and passing back and forth. Drives full of blu ray and other format movies. They have an excel spreadsheet listing all the movies, literally thousands are on the list and they have a request window that goes into a distribution that compares the movie lists all over the country. I would guess that is the new method and Pirate Bay already is becoming more and more obsolete- only one person has to download it and it goes everywhere from there. None of the kids I talked to use it at home or even download at home it is now underground and further away from the internet it means that now people do massive transfers of thousands of titles between hundreds or thousands of schools, dorms, companies, troops, or whomever someone is related to and by nature it is as untrackable as a secret spy cell. As thumbdrives hold more it will just get more common.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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