Disney: When We Copy, It's Inspiration; When You Copy, It's Infringement

from the hypocrisy-you-has-it dept

Ah, Disney.  You have to love a group of people with the ability to compartmentalize their views on matters like intellectual property to the level of these folks.  We're talking about a company that plants its mouse-shaped flag firmly in the land of family values...and then attempts to oddly trademarks a term associated with military operations and death.  This same company is part of the chorus of folks out there decrying the public domain as a wasteland of unused creation... despite the fact that many of their best-selling products are built off of public domain works. I mean, this is the bastion of creation that hired a guy to do some remixes for them...and then refused to release those works.

And so it will come as a great shock to perhaps a couple of loin-cloth clad pygmies somewhere in the Amazon Rainforest when reader JMT alerts us that Disney, all-powerful harborer of their intellectual property, managed to be so inspired by a New Zealand-created supercar (called the Hulme CanAm Spyder) that they pretty much copied the design exactly for their upcoming Cars 2 movie.  The link to the New Zealand Herald discusses the situation with the car manufacturer's director, Jock Freemantle:

"Everybody is telling us, 'it's your car'. I have had emails from around the world saying it looks like our car. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Oh, if only Disney had the same perspective as this Kiwi with the possibly single most-fun-to-say name of all time.  Why is it that Disney, grim reaper of the copyright/trademark realm, has no problem with this?  It's not like this is even the first time the Cars movie series has dealt with this kind of thing, having been through the court system over publicity rights concerning a car in the first Cars movie.  Take a look at the image comparison below and decide for yourself how closely Disney's car resembles the CanAm Spyder (hint: if your determination is anything other than "Disney's looks exactly the same, except Disney's looks like they fed a bunch of Skittles to pigeons and then made them fly over the car to, er, color it," then you're insane).  The irony of this rip off design bearing the name "Rip" in the movie isn't lost on anyone, either.

To make this as clear as day, the issue is not that Disney used a real life car as inspiration for one of their cartoon movie characters.  Rather, the problem is that if the roles in this story were reversed, Disney likely would have pooped its pants as a result from filing a lawsuit with the kind of speed that'd put the Spyder supercar to shame.  As one recent commentor put it in an unrelated story, Disney: Sue Thyself.



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    The eejit (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:23am

    In this case..

    The inspiration for new culture is in fact, newer culture.

    At least if you're Disney.

     

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    AJ, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Nice

    "Disney likely would have pooped its pants as a result from filing a lawsuit with the kind of speed that'd put the Spyder supercar to shame"

    Lol.. nice story Dark, your writing is both informative and entertaining. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:34am

    I dunno, seems like a bit of a stretch. The Disney car looks like many Lemans type race cars to me. Oh, aren't pygmies from Africa?

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      "Oh, aren't pygmies from Africa?"

      That's where they're most widely spoken of, but there are reports of pygmy peoples throughout the world. Generally, they're mostly spoken of in Africa, Asia, and Australia (where they're simply called Darryls for some reason), so perhaps the South America inclusion was a tad off....or maybe they just haven't been widely discovered yet!!!??

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      "The Disney car looks like many Lemans type race cars to me."

      Oh, and this is off on your end as well. While they may look similar from memory, if you look at an actual Le Mans style car, like the one linked below, you'll see that all the differences between Disney's car and the Le Mans style car are shared with the Kiwi car. That'd be a hell of a coincidence....

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peugeot_908_HDi_FAP

       

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        John Doe, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re:

        I agree. While I am no race car expert, the bicycle fenders would seem to be unique to this car proving Disney knew about this car when designing theirs.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re:

        Admittedly my experience with Le Mans style racing cars is limited to watching the crash sequences on the news.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, as I said, the differences are relatively subtle, but the fenders and the design of the spoiler is kind of a giveaway....

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How is the spoiler a giveaway. It's not identical, and there are other cars out there with similar spoiler designs. It just looks like something you'd see on a Toyota Supra to me.

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're probably correct that saying it was a giveaway was the wrong choice of words. The thing is that lots of what Disney did with their car are done w/other cars, but they ALL seem to be on the Kiwi car.

              But that's all besides the point. The point isn't that Disney copied. The point is that if the roles were reversed, I think Disney would be suing, and that's hypocrical....

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:34am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Certainly, using the same selection/coordination/arrangment of individually common features can indicate copying. It just doesn't seem obvious to me in this case.

                As for what Disney would do in some hypothetical universe, I'm not a fan of such speculation.

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Disney would sue" is hardly a speculative statement. It's practically a law of physics.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:09am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    All joking aside, of course it's a speculative statement.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:18am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Finally! My brilliant animated feature called "Vehicles" can come to fruition!

                       

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                      Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:37am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Yes, of course it is. But who wants to put all joking aside?

                      The fact is it is not a shaky assumption. It is not even a neutral assumption. It is a very, very good assumption - and I think you'll agree that it would be foolish to assert that Disney wouldn't care.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:24pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        In this particular case? I actually have a hard time believing Disney would sue an actual car maker that churned out that car, based on alleged rights in Cars 2.

                        Toy cars or other merchandise? Maybe.

                        Moreover, I generally don't like the type of argument that rests on "you know if it were a Republican..." or "you know that if a woman did it...", etc.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:49pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          BTW, I gathered that you wrote the article. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

                           

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                            Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Nope, you got it right, I wrote the article.

                            And if others are focusing on the concrete black/white question of whether Disney copied or took inspiration from the Kiwi car for their cartoon, then so be it. To be honest, I'd be kind of shocked if Disney/Pixar hadn't looked to the car for such inspiration. While no conclusive proof, there's just kind of too many coincidences here for that to be the logical assumption. One or two design likenesses would be one thing, but several? Including the at least semi-unique design of the headlights (unless I'm mistaken and there are tons of cars out there w/similar designs)?

                            As I said already, that wasn't my larger point with this piece. You said you addressed that elsewhere, so I'll let it go.

                             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      That's kind if what I was thinking. Fortunately, the article tells us what our conclusions are supposed to be, rather than letting us come to our own.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re:

        That's kind if what I was thinking. Fortunately, the article tells us what our conclusions are supposed to be, rather than letting us come to our own.

        This sort of comment would have more weight if the original comment you were "rah rahing" in support of wasn't already debunked by someone above you.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You have an annoying habit of referring to someone else stating an opinion you agree with as "debunking" something you don't agree with.

          How is pointing to one image of a different looking LeMans car "debunking" the notion that many similarities between the Disney and Kiwi car are not unique to the Kiwi car?

           

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            Spaceboy (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "How is pointing to one image of a different looking LeMans car "debunking" the notion that many similarities between the Disney and Kiwi car are not unique to the Kiwi car?"

            Because Disney has pulled this kind of crap before...

            http://www.kimbawlion.com/rant2.htm

            They got the idea, excuse me - inspiration, for the Lion King from Kimba the White Lion, which came out 30 years before the Lion King did. When they got called out about it they played the 'coincidence' card.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah...that's not a "debunking" either.

              It's one bit of evidence that tends to weigh on one side of the equation.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I don't think the word "debunking" means what you think it means.

                debunk: To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of:

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  So...how have either of the posts Mike referred to been "debunked" using that definition?

                  Someone has posted differing opinions, but no one has exposed any false factual assertions that I've seen, or made the opinions expressed therein to look obviously ridiculous.

                  If all Masnick is saying is "Ha! Someone else already expressed an opinion that differs from yours! Don't you look foolish!" then, well, I don't think I'm the one that looks foolish.

                   

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                    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "If all Masnick is saying is "Ha! Someone else already expressed an opinion that differs from yours! Don't you look foolish!" then, well, I don't think I'm the one that looks foolish."

                    Sigh. Okay, try to follow along here. The original statement was that Disney's car looked like "many Le Mans" style cars. Beyond traits common to cars in general, that simply isn't true (if you understand some of the subtle distinctions in different types of racing/road cars). I posted but one example.

                    So yes, the original statement was WRONG....

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:01am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      As I stated, posting one example (or three) of LeMans style cares that don't look like the Kiwi car does not show that the statement is wrong.

                      It may, in fact, be wrong, but your post simply *says* so. It does not show so. I don't consider "nuh-uh" to constitute "debunking," even if "nuh-uh" is right.

                       

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            Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You have an annoying habit of referring to someone else stating an opinion you agree with as "debunking" something you don't agree with.

            He didn't state an opinion. He pointed out that the original comment was false.

            How is pointing to one image of a different looking LeMans car "debunking" the notion that many similarities between the Disney and Kiwi car are not unique to the Kiwi car?

            As others have pointed out, the Disney car takes on a *lot* of characteristics of the Kiwi car. Pointing out that some other cars have one or two of those features is meaningless.

            Yes, there are lots of cars that have different elements here, but Disney put them all together in the same manner as the Kiwi car, which at the very least indicates copying.

            And, as others have said, I think that's fine and great. I think it's great that car designs built off of each others work and that Disney -- smartly -- used this car for inspiration.

            The issue is that they would freak out if anyone did the same thing back to them.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Please explain how "he pointed out that the original comment was false," other than simply saying so. Thanks.

              Of course putting common elements together in a particular manner can indicate copying, but I don't think the similarities here indicate copying very strongly. Since nobody here has actual omniscience, that's pretty much a matter of opinion. Someone stating their alternative opinion is not "debunking" my opinion.

               

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                Any Mouse (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Please explain what you just explained 'cause I just don't get it."

                FTFY

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The only thing I don't get is "FTFY" That one's new to me.

                  Look, if Mike thinks saying "nope, you're wrong" counts has "debunking," then just about every article he's ever written has been thoroughly debunked. I just think that's a misuse of the word.

                  I mean, let's look at the original statement here: "I dunno, seems like a bit of a stretch. The Disney car looks like many Lemans type race cars to me."

                  That's an opinion! How can Mike say with a straight face that that commenters opinion was "pointed out as false?"

                   

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                    DCL, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:12pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Of course it is your opinion that you think Mike is wrong for using the word "debunking" in too lax a way and it is you that feels the need to keep posting that your opinion is 100% right and the end all truth.

                    Seems speculative to me.

                    FYI: FTFY = "Fixed That For You"

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:30pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Why don't you go ahead and point me to one instance where I did so much as imply that my opinion is "100% right and the end all truth."

                       

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                        DCL, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 4:14pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        In a way you just did... by challenging me to find "where did wrongly state something" then you are positioning yourself as being more right then everybody else (or at least me).

                        Conversely why don't you point out where you say "well my opinion is.... and since I don't have all the facts then there may be some level of error on my part"?

                        I have read a bunch of posts here (more then 5) where you assert you are not wrong and more right then others... to the point where it wasn't helping the conversation of the topic.

                        My point for your posts and the article is that as individuals our truth is how we see the world filtered by our perceptions.

                        Some people just see themselves as always right and selfishly use that viewpoint as justification for ignoring others and their needs. At some point it is often better for us all to say "I see your view, I agree to disagree, and here is my view, lets find a way to move the conversation forward"

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 4:22pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I'm still waiting for a serious response. Since you say I "keep posting that [my] opinion is 100% right and the end all truth" it shouldn't be hard to fine ONE instance where I posted that. Just point me to that ONE post.

                          In the meantime, I'll actually respond to your request. I wrote below: "I don't think the similarities here indicate copying very strongly. Since nobody here has actual omniscience, that's pretty much a matter of opinion."

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 4:23pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Also, it's ironic that you would call me out for this, when Mike Masnick is the one who claims that some other commenter's opinion was "debunked" as if only the contrary opinion is valid.

                             

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 3:49pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      FYI: Fuck that, fuck you

                       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      Agreed, the Disney car looks pretty much like a generic take on Lemans type cars, maybe crossed somewhat with a Daytona Prototype and other generic sports car type designs that date back probably 30+ years (see Porsche 917, example).

      Bicycle style fenders have been used on a few cars, including the Ariel Atom, The Lotus Seven, and many others. Heck, they were used on the Model T.

      Examples like:

      Daytona Prototype: http://image.europeancarweb.com/f/9060269+w750+st0/0609_EPCP_10Z+2006_long_beach_grand_prix+porsche_ daytona_prototype.jpg

      Porsche 917: http://images.loqu.com/contents/856/454/image/2009-09-08/1_1.jpg

      Bentley Speed8 Lemans: http://autopixx.de/bilder/1934/bentley-speed-8.jpg

      Indy Car: http://image.stockcarracing.com/f/9471021+w750+st0/p75866_large+Target_Chip_Ganassi_Racing_G_Force_I ndy_Car+Overhead_Front_Right_Side_View.jpg

      What makes a racing car a racing car is very common, if anything it could be said that the Hulme CanAm Spider tends to be a copy of all of these cars, and a few more.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re:

        But none of those cars look like ether in the article, where as both cars in the article look almost identical. None of those cars even have the weal covers that we're talking about.

        Even if Disney didn't copy the design, the point of the article remains valid. If the roles were reversed, Disney would sue the car company into the ground.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ariel atom bike fenders: http://www.dragtimes.com/images/11613-2006-Ariel-Atom.jpg

          CanAm Spider: http://images.passionperformance.ca/photos/0/1/9/019364_Can-Am_Spyder_2009.jpg

          Mosler Sports Car (roof scoop): http://img.feb-search.com/img2/6/r/i/c/h/a/r/2/richard_crawford_mosler_mt900r_-_stuart_hall___daniel _brown.jpg

          Here are three more: 2 bike fenders, 1 roof scoop.

          The point is that the New Zealand car isn't particularly special or unique as it sits, rather it draws from many others cars as well. The sides of the car are similar to current F1 cars.

          The Disney car is a pretty easy combination of F1 sides, Daytona Prototype front, cockpit, and such, any number of bucket handle rear wings, and so on. The area in front of the rear tires is similar to both F1 and Indycars, and completely different from the other car.

          In fact, the very square front of the Disney car is very similar to a daytona prototype car, including the double headlights:

          http://www.automobilsport.com/uploads/_neustart/AMERICAN_SERIES_2010/porsche-brumos-5 9.jpg

          I would say that for a cartoon car, it is a pretty good rendering of all sorts of sports and racing cars blended together.

           

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            anymouse (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So your point is when Disney takes 'pieces' from various other vehicles and 'assembles' something that looks remarkably similar to a car that someone else built... that's just fine

            So if we take some 'pieces' of drawing that exist in other art (circles, lines, a few squiggles) and 'assemble' a mouse that looks remarkably similar to Mickey... Disney would be fine with this as well

            Their lawsuits and constant extension of copyright laws seem to disagree with your 'point'....

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, the point is that the "pieces" are things that have appeared on many cars over many years. The cartoon car is basically a Lemans / Daytona prototype variation, of which there are many types including roadgoing cars such as the Mosler or the Saleen of a few years ago. It might be what I would (as a minor racing fan) draw up if you said "give me a cartoon of a sporty racing car".

              The point is that the pieces are not really attributable to any one source, nor in fact are they from any source except the very generic.

              Your argument about Mickey Mouse is self-serving and pointless. It's the same sort of thing the post author often tries to do, and in this case he too failed miserably.

               

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    Jay (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Three words

    Kimba vs Simba

    Disney is a ripoff.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Doesn't surprise me but it's great ammo for defense in copyright related cases. You know, whenever I read those news it only emphasizes how the copyright laws need to be reviewed and changed to include proper fair use and non-commercial use in them. Of course, our highly educated politicians know exactly what they are doing and they realize this too. Ahmm....

     

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    Matt (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:42am

    I'm not defending disney on this but a lot of the "distinct" features on this car aren't unique to it. In fact I imagine a lot of the features on this car were inspired from other cars.

    But really that just shows how ridiculous Disney's position on this stuff is. By copying this car Disney isn't hurting it, it's making it a lot more known.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      Er, the body, wheel well, and spoiler designs are all significantly different from the Caparo T1. That said, there is a fair amount of borrowing done in auto design, which is probably one of the reasons the company's director didn't seem to think the Disney rip was a big deal....

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      Shhh! We're beating up on Disney here! Check your regular "copying" skepticism at the door.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re:

        Shhh! We're beating up on Disney here! Check your regular "copying" skepticism at the door.


        Shhh! The comment you're supporting was already debunked. But why bother checking!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Again with the "debunking."

          How was that comment "debunked?" Was the image it linked to fake?

          There are other cars that have that placement of the intake hood. That "mouth" bit on the comparison image is a joke. I don't see the "boatlike" body on the Disney care (although that could be because of the angle). The spoiler (referenced by Dark Helmet as proving copying) (a) seems different between the two cars, and (b) shares similarities that are also shared by other cars.

          There are some similarities, and some of the supposed similarities indicating copying are not unique to the Kiwi car.

          This is not an obvious, slam-dunk case of a ripoff, except that Disney is the bad guy, and everyone loves to beat up on Disney (myself included, when its deserved).

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Jeez Masnick, why don't you take a couple of Midol and chill out.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          As a followup, another AC posted a comment, with links, suggesting that the similarities don't indicate copying. Does that mean the article is "debunked?" No. It means someone has a differing, fact-based opinion.

           

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Good point. "Debunked" was probably too strong a word.

            Nevertheless, the comment had already been responded to in a meaningful way, and rather than carry on a productive conversation you decided to go straight to your anti-Techdirt sarcasm.

            Get a life.

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I hadn't seen the response at that point. Why? I have a life.

              Also, "get a life" is a pretty weak insult for a writer. I'm sure you could do better.

              I think it's worth pointing out that people tend to apply different standards here depending on what result they want to see.

              Big bad company accused of copying? It's an obvious ripoff based on similarity of somewhat common features.

              Big bad company accusing someone else of copying? What, do they think they own common features that have been in use for ages? Who do they think they are?

               

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                Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Also, "get a life" is a pretty weak insult for a writer. I'm sure you could do better.

                An oldie but a goodie. Cliches are cliches for a reason :)

                Big bad company accused of copying? It's an obvious ripoff based on similarity of somewhat common features.

                Big bad company accusing someone else of copying? What, do they think they own common features that have been in use for ages? Who do they think they are?


                Umm, that's EXACTLY the point being made here - except from the other angle. I certainly do not think Disney should be stopped from doing this, and I know Tim doesn't either. This is a "taste of their own medicine" situation - you're right above that it's technically speculative, but there can be almost no doubt that Disney would cry foul if the roles were reversed. They are the ones with the double standard.

                I can see what you mean that, with reversed roles, we might be defending the value and originality of the copy - but it wouldn't change anyone's analyses on whether or not it was a copy to begin with. Beyond that, yes, the reaction might be a bit different - but, for example, nobody in the discussion of Mr. Brainwash's work tried to claim that it wasn't a copy.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:53am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I do not think that's exactly the point being made here.

                  Perhaps I wasn't clear in my explanation, but people often seem lothe to admit that an accused infringer copied something in many cases, focusing on the fact that the allegedly copied features could have been taken from many other public domain works that share similar features.

                  Here, everyone seems unusually willing to jump on the "Disney copied" bandwagon without the typical skepticism about allegations of copying common features.

                  I think that is separate from whether the copy is still valuable, or infringing, or whatever.

                   

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                    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:35pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Here, everyone seems unusually willing to jump on the "Disney copied" bandwagon without the typical skepticism about allegations of copying common features."

                    No, you're still not getting it. To be frank, whether Disney "copied" or was inspired by the Kiwi car, while I believe they did/were, is ultimately irrelevant. They're very close, so much so that if the roles were reversed, Disney would sue. You can treat that as a hypothetical if you want, and technically it is, just as it's a hypothetical that the sun will rise tomorrow....

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:48pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I think I am getting it just fine.

                      I understand that your ultimate point isn't that they did or did not copy, but that was one of the points you made in your article, and people seem unusually willing to accept that assertion. The fact that I am discussing one of your subpoints does not mean that I fail to grasp your ultimate point.

                      I have addressed your ultimate point elsewhere. Of course, you believe what you believe about Disney, but I find those types of speculative arguments annoying.

                       

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                        DCL, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:17pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Speculative questions about hypothetical scenarios is the basis of every business class I took in college.

                         

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                        Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:34pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I find those types of speculative arguments annoying

                        That is a very transparent escape tactic. Obviously you can't claim that Disney wouldn't sue, so you just completely dodge the question. Based on their past and now this, hypocrisy is a perfectly valid criticism to make of Disney - if you want to refute it, refute it, but don't just say "accusations of hypocrisy are annoying so I won't respond to them"

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:42am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I'm not claiming Disney would sue or wouldn't sue, because I don't know. What I do know is that there are lots of considerations that go into determining whether to file a lawsuit (or send a C&D letter), and neither Disney's past actions nor the facts that I know of this case make it obvious (to me) one way or another.

                          I'm "dodging" the question because I think it's pointless to heap blame on someone for something they haven't done, but some people speculate they *would* do in some hypothetical context.

                          I don't find accusations of hypocrisy annoying based on things PEOPLE HAVE ACTUALLY DONE! Surely you can understand that.

                          Of course, since the original author is now backing away from the claim that there was copying here (he says he thinks there was, but that's not his point), what Disney has or hasn't actually done isn't the subject of the accusations of hypocrisy.

                           

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                        The eejit (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:09am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Speculation is how we learn.

                        It was speculated that we went round the world on four elephants riding on the back of a giuant turtle. We learned that that wasn't the case.

                        It was speculated that we were in a heliocentric system of galactic entities. That was proven true.

                        Speculative hypotheses are how we come to understand the world better.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:44am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          This is not a speculative hypothesis that can be studied and disproven/proven to gain knowledge.

                          This is heaping blame on someone for something they haven't done, but some people speculate they would do in a hypothetical universe.

                           

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, No, Mike Masnick says debunked, it's debunked. End of story. No more. It is debunked. It's a rule.

               

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            ClarkeyBalboa (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think the point of the article was still made: Disney profits massively from the public domain and from other sources, while doing everything in it's power to ensure that no other entity can benefit from their own creativity.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That may be a true (or generally true) statement, but the article is based on allegations of copying that are debatable, and speculation as to what Disney would do in some hypothetical universe where roles are reversed.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Culture sure is hard; we should probably entrust the lawyers to help us figure it all out. Artists?!? The public?!?

                You're crazy.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:16am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Um, ok.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:22am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Dead people should also have more rights than the living.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:28am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      If you say so

                      *backs away slowly*

                      *calls for security*

                       

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                        The eejit (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:27pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "This is another public service announcement brought to you, in part, by Slim Disney. Slim Disney does not give a fuck what you think. If you don't like it, you can suck walt's fucking cock.

                        "Little did you know, but upon purchasing this ticket, you have just kissed Mickey's ass. Slim Disney is fed up of your shit, and is sending ICE to kill you.

                        "Anything else?"

                        "Yeah. Bite me.

                         

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        techflaws.org (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re:

        LOL. It's funny how desperate you shilltards get that you even try to weasel your way out of such blatant copying. LeMans, my ass.

         

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:24am

    When I was a kid, it was a good company. Now I frankly detest the company and the 'entertainment' they release - is anything but.

    I must admit, I don't think I own any Disney movies on DVD. The only Disney stuff I would be interested in, would be stuff prior to 1990 or so.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Small note

    I think it should be noted that Pixar (who makes Cars) is still a subsidiary of Disney.

    Some of the very reasons that Pixar was created was because of the corporate culture that is in Disney through Michael Eisner. Perhaps Pixar did it as an homage akin to how Disney employees worked to have The Lion King an homage to Kimba the White Lion.

    What the artist's intentions are, compared to the CEOs may be different. Still doesn't take Disney/Pixar off the hook, but it's just another view to look into.

     

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      Grae (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:19am

      Re: Small note

      This is along the lines of my thoughts as well. My impression from seeing some of the "behind the scenes" footage from Pixar is: for the most part they are artists and storycrafters that more often than not will look to the world (and culture) around them to enrich and enhance their works.

      It's irony to be sure; though I'd bet that the lawyers at Disney wouldn't get it.

       

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    DannyB (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:04am

    The sincerest form of flattery

    When Disney copies from others or the public domain:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


    When anyone else copies from Disney or even makes an indirect reference to Disney:

    Limitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


    You should be flattered that Disney sent a swarm of lawyers your way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Actually the funniest part of this story is that the New Zealand car uses a name already used for a road going vehicle.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/__0QWwDIuEx8/TCOQdfZ6CtI/AAAAAAAAAlc/0MqSGV2C7UQ/s1600/bombardi er-can-am-spyder.jpg

    The Can Am Spyder.

    I think they may have just exposed themselves!

     

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      anothermike, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      I came in here looking for this exact comment. To me, the CanAm Spyder is a three-wheeled motorcycle from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier. I know this because there are several in the office parking lot right now.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Personally, I think Disney's design is a pretty generic looking race car.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      That opinion has already been debunked by someone with another opinion! Didn't you do thorough research before posting!??

      /sarcasm

       

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      DMNTD, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:33am

      Re:

      IF it was generic, then the lights would not have the rectangle look...period. I guess when you sit there and imagine every other car looking like the one they copied its easy to say.."oh, well its a race car".

      Now I just need to slightly be inspired by the real car and their coincidence, move the air scoop back or forward and make it less round then I can have that design in my kids film right?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re:

        "IF it was generic, then the lights would not have the rectangle look...period"

        The lights in the Disney car are triangular; the lights on the Kiwi car are more like parralelograms (sp?).

        Other cars have used similar looking designs, e.g., http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_6P7nlj08zgA/TRxUistJEoI/AAAAAAAAAjk/unclFrhSaj8/s1600/ferrari-p4-5-competi -10_460x0w.jpg

        Perhaps more importantly, you're saying similarity in the lights alone makes all the difference? Why?

         

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          AJ, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why is it so hard for you to understand that the point of this article is not that they are exactly the same, but that they are close enough that if the roles were reversed, Disney would be suing someone?

          If you want to argue, find some relevant situations where; Disney found out about some art or whatever, that was "similar" to what they have/have done, and chose not to sue.

          This whole "it's completely different" approach to your argument is borderline idiotic, and boringly redundant....

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I've never said either car was "completely different" from any other car, and I never said that the point of the article is that the cars are "exactly the same." Let's not make things up, ok?

            I understand that one point of the article is to point out supposed hypocrisy from Disney. I've addressed that point several times, as follows: I don't care for arguments that rely on speculation about what would happen in some hypothetical universe.

            Now that we've gotten those distractions out of the way, do you have anything to say about what I and the person I was responding to are discussing? Namely, the conclusion that Disney copied the Kiwi car (either based on headlights alone or otherwise)? Thanks!

             

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              AJ, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I don't care for arguments that rely on speculation"

              "Namely, the conclusion that Disney copied the Kiwi car (either based on headlights alone or otherwise)? Thanks!"

              So you are asking me to conclude, based on my own speculation, if Disney copied the design based on just the headlights alone, or otherwise.... hmmm... I would say if they did copy the design, they copied it based on the external profile of the vehicle, which is very close in form and not any one individual part.. but that of course is just speculation....

              Your Welcome!






              "I don't care for arguments that rely on speculation about what would happen in some hypothetical universe."

              According to the picture, there are at least 5 different similarities between the cars. The headlights are one of them.

               

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                AJ, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Not sure how the format of my post got all screwed up.... I need to work on that I guess...

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I never asked you to come to any conclusion regarding copying. I was questioning the prior commenter's apparent conclusion, based on headlights alone, that there was copying.

                Did you even read the comments that lead up to our exchange?

                I don't know whether anything was or was not copied from the Kiwi car. Based on what's been provided, I'm not convinced.

                 

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                  Hithappens, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 1:52pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Le Mans anyone?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:31pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    ?

                     

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                      AJ, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 4:16am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      You talk in circles.. You asked me a very specific question and I answered it, now your claiming you didn't ask the question to begin with. Your getting paid well to make since.. start making since....


                      "do you have anything to say about what I and the person I was responding to are discussing? Namely, the conclusion that Disney copied the Kiwi car (either based on headlights alone or otherwise)? Thanks!"

                      "I never asked you to come to any conclusion regarding copying."

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:50am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I didn't ask for a conclusion regarding whether something was or was not copied. I asked whether you "had anything to say" on the topic. There is a difference.

                        For example, what I had to say before you took the thread in another direction, was asking a question regarding why someone would conclude that the car was copied based solely on the headlights?

                        There are lots of things one can say about copying or evaluating whether something is copied without stating as a matter of factual conclusion that something is or is not copied.

                         

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            AJ, the problem is that the idea of Disney suing someone based on this car design is entirely speculative. Disney has launched lawsuits in the past, but they have pretty all been on clear rip-offs. This one doesn't even rise to the level of being clear.

            What is more happening here is that a particular comment writer turned techdirt poster is trying to prove himself worthy, digging hard to try to find gold. All he is finding is the buried dog crap that the site owner wouldn't bother with himself. He is attempting to get you to draw the conclusion that Disney is bad and evil, because, well, that is the party line here.

            Wake up and think for yourself, don't let anyone make your mind up for you!

             

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              AJ, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Sooo instead of actually answering, you decide to attack the poster of the article... and suggest that I'm a mindless follower of the Dark Helmet tribe..... Nice.... I thought perhaps you were just becoming frustrated because you were not effectively communicating your point of view, now i see your just an asshole... sorry i wasted my time...

               

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                AJ, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:58am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Bad choice of words on my part...

                "Sooo instead of actually answering"

                Should read

                "Sooo instead of debating the issue"

                my bad...I'm an engineer, I don't do much writing....

                 

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "What is more happening here is that a particular comment writer turned techdirt poster is trying to prove himself worthy, digging hard to try to find gold."

              Nice. Too bad this wasn't a case of digging, but a story submitted by another reader. And I think I've been writing here long enough to no longer have to "proove" myself to the brass, as you suggest....

               

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    maclizard (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Lets make a game out of this.

    Alright. I'm not the best programmer, however I am better than most. I say we create a game called... oh I don't know, FakeCars, or Kars... or maybe Mortal Karbat. I will only feature one nondescript race track and one "spyder" knock-off race car named Riq (pronounced "rick").

    The project would probably take less than I week if we used pre-existing open source code to render everything, hell we could even crowd-source the whole thing.

    Anyway, the goal is to release said game BEFORE the new cars movie. Lets get to it.

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Whatever.

    The vehicle in question clearly resembles Maori tribal art.

     

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    idiocracy, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Disney

    I've worked in Media for thirty years, for many large companies under all kinds of "interesting" folks riddled with addictions, perversions, and other quirkish tics of personality. One of those large companies was Disney, as I entered my 15th year with ABC (having healthily survived the CapCities takeover in 1985). During Union negotiations at that time, I found an illegal listening device, placed in an area "where Union members are likely to gather". Took the info in good faith to my senior Union officer (with whom I'd worked the entire time). A little over a year later, I could only describe Disney as a whole, as mentally ill at best, and purely evil at the more likely worst. Disney blacklists, owns the Courts (especially in Southern California), and doesn't give a damn about "family" in any form, unless that given form is spending money with Disney at that moment. If two or more Disney honchos take a personal distaste to any individual employee, they are issued carte blanche by the Company to harass, fabricate and blacklist to the point of poverty. I will always thank Disney for showing me the worst of human nature, and for eliminating any sense of pride or loyalty I could ever feel--indeed, for the very feeling of "being STUCK having to make a living", knowing that playground-like tactics can and do thoroughly derail honest careers, with full sanctions by the Courts, and promoters of the "system". As for the basic subject, compare "Lion King" with "Simba"...and get 'hold of some pre-Disney A.A. Milne-edition Pooh/etc., featuring the Disneyectomied humanoid foil Christopher Robin...perfect for a six-year old, without all the overcommercialized Disney bastardization. And how about that sweet ending for Disney's "Pocahontas", who actually died of venereal disease in England, in her early 20s? Lots of companies fit lots of descriptions; Disney is satan.

     

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    dickeyrat (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 9:12am

    Disney

    I've worked in Media for thirty years, for many large companies under all kinds of "interesting" folks riddled with addictions, perversions, and other quirkish tics of personality. One of those large companies was Disney, as I entered my 15th year with ABC (having healthily survived the CapCities takeover in 1985). During Union negotiations at that time, I found an illegal listening device, placed in an area "where Union members are likely to gather". Took the info in good faith to my senior Union officer (with whom I'd worked the entire time). A little over a year later, I could only describe Disney as a whole, as mentally ill at best, and purely evil at the more likely worst. Disney blacklists, owns the Courts (especially in Southern California), and doesn't give a damn about "family" in any form, unless that given form is spending money with Disney at that moment. If two or more Disney honchos take a personal distaste to any individual employee, they are issued carte blanche by the Company to harass, fabricate and blacklist to the point of poverty. I will always thank Disney for showing me the worst of human nature, and for eliminating any sense of pride or loyalty I could ever feel--indeed, for the very feeling of "being STUCK having to make a living", knowing that playground-like tactics can and do thoroughly derail honest careers, with full sanctions by the Courts, and promoters of the "system". As for the basic subject, compare "Lion King" with "Simba"...and get 'hold of some pre-Disney A.A. Milne-edition Pooh/etc., featuring the Disneyectomied humanoid foil Christopher Robin...perfect for a six-year old, without all the overcommercialized Disney bastardization. And how about that sweet ending for Disney's "Pocahontas", who actually died of venereal disease in England, in her early 20s? Lots of companies fit lots of descriptions; Disney is satan.

     

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    Yawning, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Yawn... Don't you get bored of writing this stuff? I'm certainly bored of reading it. Time for a new subject, maybe?

     

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    RD, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    New Record

    Well, this is a new record on Techdirt....over 100 comments of virtually USELESS idiocy. This has to be the most worthless comment thread I've read since coming here years ago. 1/2 the commentors here (we'll call them The Idiots) miss the ENTIRE point of the article (hint: its WHAT WOULD DISNEY DO IF THE ROLES WERE REVERSED) and the detractors rely on "well, the car isnt EXACTLY the same 100% to the micron" fucking bullshit arguments to discredit this point.

    Seriously, are you a bunch of fucking babies? You dont get that if someone did something even SLIGHTLY similar to Mickey (lets say, a cartoon mouse with 2 big oval shaped black ears, skinny arms and legs named something like "Friendly Mouse") wouldnt get sued the FUCK OUT for infringement by the Big D? REALLY? Are you THAT fucking stupid? IT can, does and has happened.

    So then, why is it when the Big D copies almost verbatim the design of someone else for a car in a major movie, that they shouldnt be subject to the VERY TREATMENT THEY GIVE THE REST OF THE WORLD for ANY perceived infringement of THEIR products in the same manner?

    And almost NONE of you get it.

    Idiocy on parade, I swear.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Kyle H. Davis, Sep 9th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    Come on... be serious.

    First, let's get the car issue out of the way:
    Sure, it looks like that car... but that car also looks like several other cars. You mean to tell me that NO other cars have wheel covers like that, air scoops mounted in the same position, ventilation holes in the front, triangular air dams with vertical headlights, or a boat shaped central body?

    COME ON! You have just read a list of standard features for a large portion of Le Mans class cars, as well as features of several forms of sports race cars.

    To point out the similarities, without pointing out the differences, is just ignorant. You can take the Freestream T1 and point out similarities, but they are two different cars that simply look similar.

    The cartoon has rear wheel air dams... the Spider does not. The Spiders body comes out almost even to the tires, the cartoon does not. The Spider has side windows, the cartoon does not. The Spider has a joined windshield, the cartoon does not. The Spider has side mirrors, the cartoon does not appear to have them. They have completely different looking read-ends.

    And... the biggest difference? The Spider doesn't have eyes and talk.

    But let's look at the bigger picture. It's a caricature of a sports race car. Disney is not misrepresenting itself as being a car design shop, nor is it trying to sell sports cars.

    Do you HONESTLY think that every time a Ford Taurus is shown in a movie, that the movie is trying to claim it created a Ford Taurus, that it is trying to profit off of it, or that it has to pay/ask Ford for the use? SERIOUSLY?
    (Interestingly, most car companies PAY for the exposure.)

    What, do you think that Disney went around and paid for drawing a Teepee motel in the first movie? Come on. Be serious.

     

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


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