Disney Freaks Out Over Patents That May Mean It Can't Keep 3Ding Old Movies

from the live-by-the-monopoly,-die-by-the-monopoly dept

While lots of folks have been declaring the 3D movie obsession dead for a while now, the studios still love 3D movies. In this age where they're looking for ways to create formulaic premium experiences that get people to go out to the theaters, they seem to have jumped on the 3D bandwagon full force. Of course, as with all things Hollywood embraces too strongly, that's now leading to backlash, mainly because rather than do it well and where it makes sense, the big studios are basically just looking to add 3D to whatever they can and hope people will pay the premium. It's a short term strategy, but Hollywood execs aren't exactly known for their long term outlooks.

That said, Disney -- the poster company for supporting extreme copyright monopolies -- has apparently discovered a form of intellectual monopoly that it doesn't like so much: patents. Last week it filed an emergency motion to try to insert itself into the sale of some patents that cover the 3Difying of old films, from a company, Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG), that went bankrupt. The patents were sold to a company called RealID, and that seems to scare Disney. The link above to The Hollywood Reporter has the details of the back and forth over the dispute, in which it appears that Disney had an option to get a full license to the patents, but for reasons that suggest someone was asleep at the wheel, the company did not officially exercise that option. Now it wants to block the sale unless it can get a guarantee that it won't get sued.

There's got to be some amount of irony to see copyright maximalist Disney suddenly running into issues over the possibility that patents might block it from doing something it wants to do.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 7:48pm

    Normally when I don't have anything intelligent to say I just keep my mouth shut, but fuck Disney.

     

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  2.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    Irony, thy form has Mickey Mouse ears.

     

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  3.  
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    Dave Nelson, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Poetic justice, I tell ya!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Does this mean I might not get to see Ariel's tits in 3-D?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 9:09pm

    Re:

    she was 12, she didnt have any tits. a very nice pair of clamshells tho.

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 4th, 2013 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re:

    She was 12? But she got married and it was a Disney film.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    if the U.S government just patented the atomic bomb, the cold war never would have happened... think about it. :P

     

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  8.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:36am

    Irony - The anvil that drops on the heads of characters in old animations

    Viz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r1knpIlcV8

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The age of consent is lower for mermaids.

     

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  10.  
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    SlickR, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 1:00am

    Re: lol

    ahahah. Man, but 3d movies are way overrated.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 1:20am

    Disney can go and die in a fire as far as I'm concerned.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 2:10am

    http://www.zeropaid.com/news/103006/piracy-hear-say-continues-with-advertising-report/

    http://www .annenberglab.com/

    I wonder if Disney have contributed to the USC Annenberg lab recently LoL

    The latest research about how ad networks are funding piracy is priceless. Not because is accurate but because is so out there you probably couldn't see it with the Hubble.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 2:26am

    Sons of Disney

    I knew that USC Anneberg Lab had Disney connections.

    Quote:
    In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid.

    USC Annenberg Lab: Jonathan Taplin

     

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  14.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Would'nt that make it a representation of kiddie porn in the UK?

     

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  15.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 3:19am

    M-I-C, C you real soon in court, K-E-Y, Y because you like IP...

     

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  16.  
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    Sabrina (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 4:31am

    copyright law is stupid

    Well disney do unto to others as you would have them do unto you. You wanted strict copyright laws you got strict copyright laws. How does it feel to be "on the other side of the fence? I wish we didn't have copyright law. It limits creativity so much. I started a petition to at least limit copyright a little. If I called to get rid of the law completely I don't think it would get the response I want. I know the white house doesn't make copyright laws congress does but they don't have a petition page on their site. But I hope the petition can do something like get attention and I know that the president can sign laws if congress approves. Here is the link to my petition http://wh.gov/UIW2 I need 150 signatures before it is searchable. Until then the link is the only way to view.
    There is also another petition on the whitehouse site to limit copyright to last not longer han 10 years which I signed. That one is searchable. I think its time for regular people to heard on copyright law. Its not fair disney can help get a dumb law passed like the "Sonny Bono Act". We are the ones eho pay the price of the excessive copyright laws buy have to pay more money and on restricted on how we used copyright items we buy. Humans we able to craete art and advance without dumb copyright laws. If copyright law existed long time ago and the old fairy tales and princess stories were copyrighted where would disney be?
    Copyright allows the greedy to make more money and create a monopoly on imagination. If copyright law and patents didn't exist we might be more advanced. If I were to invent something or write a story I wouldn't do it because I could copyright it but because I want to. I like to take photos and create art and if someone wants to use my photos they can go ahead. I took the photos to share with others not to be a scrooge about it.

     

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  17.  
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    Sabrina, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 4:35am

    Re: copyright law is stupid edited version for spelling errors

    Well Disney do unto to others as you would have them do unto you. You wanted strict copyright laws you got strict copyright laws. How does it feel to be "on the other side of the fence? I wish we didn't have copyright law. It limits creativity so much. I started a petition to at least limit copyright a little. If I called to get rid of the law completely I don't think it would get the response I want. I know the white house doesn't make copyright laws congress does but they don't have a petition page on their site. But I hope the petition can do something like get attention and I know that the president can sign laws if congress approves. Here is the link to my petition http://wh.gov/UIW2 I need 150 signatures before it is searchable. Until then the link is the only way to view.
    There is also another petition on the whitehouse site to limit copyright to last not longer han 10 years which I signed. That one is searchable. I think its time for regular people to heard on copyright law. Its not fair Disney can help get a dumb law passed like the "Sonny Bono Act". We are the ones who pay the price of the excessive copyright laws by having to pay more money and being restricted on how we used copyright items we buy. Humans were able to create art and advance without dumb copyright laws. If copyright law existed long time ago and the old fairy tales and princess stories were copyrighted where would disney be?
    Copyright allows the greedy to make more money and create a monopoly on imagination. If copyright law and patents didn't exist we might be more advanced. If I were to invent something or write a story I wouldn't do it because I could copyright it but because I want to. I like to take photos and create art and if someone wants to use my photos they can go ahead. I took the photos to share with others not to be a scrooge about it.

     

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  18.  
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    Sabrina, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:12am

    Another comment because I don't like disney greed

    I hope disney doesn't get the rights.

    Scarcasm "I am afraid that the 3Difying patent will be quite operational when your disney friends arrive" Emperor Monopoly.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:15am

    Life sucks when you're rich! "Everybody got a hand full of gimme and a mouth full of much obliged". That's probably copyrighted and I used it. Har.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    I am so hoping Disney gets patent trolled for a billion dollars.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    I am so hoping Disney gets patent trolled for a billion dollars.

     

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  22.  
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    avideogameplayer, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Once again, Hollywood(Disney) is running cause of patents. Makes ya wish you would've worked with Edison instead of running to Cali...

    Hope Disney gets sued into oblivion...

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 6:24am

    Re:

    Or, the cold war would end 20 years later... Just saying! :)

     

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  24.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's right. She was 12 and she got married and it was a Disney film.

    Now you're starting to get the picture of what Disney is about.

     

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  25.  
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    DogBreath, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 6:59am

    How I imagine it went down...

    Judge Shannon (channeling Rorschach: [reading from his journal] from WATCHMEN)

    Judge Shannon's Journal . January 4th, 2013: Goofy's carcass in alley this morning, duck footprint on flattened nose. This company is afraid of me. I have seen its true face and big round ears. Disneylands streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of discarded popcorn, half eaten hot dogs and sticky soda pop, and when the drains finally clog up, the mouse will drown. The accumulated filth of all their congressional lobbying and copyright extension laws will foam up about their waists, and all the Disney executives and "paid for" politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll whisper "no."

     

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  26.  
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    Pinocchio's Grandma, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: How I imagine it went down...

    "Goofy's carcass in alley this morning, duck footprint on flattened nose."

    i guess goofy didn't pay royalties to uncle scrooge (the true leader of Disney)

     

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  27.  
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    Darth Mickey, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Another comment because I don't like disney greed

    I find your lack of 3Difying disturbing

     

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  28.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 7:50am

    "Disney -- the poster company for supporting extreme copyright monopolies -- has apparently discovered a form of intellectual monopoly that it doesn't like so much: patents"

    Which is why I don't like the term "copyright maximalists." Copyright is merely a means to an end. The end is protection. Thus, they should be called middlemen protectionists.

    In other words, Disney doesn't give a frick about intellectual property and will fight against it tooth and nail, unless intellectual property protects it and only it. Then they'll fight for it tooth and nail.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Its really a shame. I'm personally a big fan of some of the 3D work going on. What I HATE is stupid companies doing a half ass slap together post production job of it so they can jump on an oversaturated bandwagon and drive something I enjoy so far into the dirt that I start to hate it...

    Its like the old 'VR' helmets. LOVED those things. Been waiting twenty years for those to become a thing... but I think the Virtual Boy killed everyone's interest in it >.>

    In this case, really hope disney gets screwed over. They got alot of positive rep with me as a child... but the older I get, the more I get to hating them.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Saying, in essence, that Disney is evil and is getting a taste of its own medicine misses the point. This is a contractual matter before a bankruptcy court, and in this case the court has held that under the circumstances presented here a patent license for future productions by Disney is fully discharged in bankruptcy. In other words, whatever license rights may have been granted for future productions are nullified and discharged without recourse by Disney to the purchaser of the bankrupt's assets (in this case the patents).

    Admittedly, my familiarity with this case is limited to the contents of Disney's motion. Based upon what I read in the motion, my first impression is that Disney's position suffers from one significant infirmity, an infirmity recently addressed by the Supreme Court in an unrelated case involving a completely different set of facts. In Stanford v. Roche the Supreme Court held that the failure to grant in a patent license agreement a "present" license was dispositive, and Stanford did not in its agreement have a "present" license, but only a "future" possibility.

    The contents of the motion suggest to me that the latter pertains, in which event Disney may very well find itself on the losing end of an appeal. Had the agreement said "Disney is hereby, irrevocably granted a "license" for future works, subject only to the payment of a to-be negotiated, most favored amound royalty", or words to that effect (along with a few other important terms), Disney would stand upon substantially firmer ground.

    Again, mine is just a first impression.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    Check up on the Occulus Rift. I don't think the virtual boy had as much to do with it as the state of technology at the time.

    http://www.oculusvr.com

    Valve also has an interesting blog post about VR and latency.

    http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/latency-the-sine-qua-non-of-ar-and-vr/

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re:

    Anvils from the sky is more of a Warner Brothers trope than Disney.

     

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  33.  
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    Capt ICE Enforcer, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    No Big Deal

    I don't see the big deal. All Disney has to do is either a. Create a new 2D to 3D technology that won't infringe on others intellectual property. Or b. Create all new movies that the won't required the 2D3D technology. After all. They tell us to use those simple solutions. Oh yeah they could just wait for the patent to never expire while getting sued by numerous shell companies.

     

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  34.  
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    JustObserving, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Let 3D die...

    Patents aside, hopefully this will kill off the crappy 3D *must wear goggles" technology and push companies to simply make higher definition assets, which have better realism.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    " Now it wants to block the sale unless it can get a guarantee that it won't get sued.
    "

    Can it do that? I mean, is that something a company can do?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    "whatever license rights may have been granted for future productions are nullified and discharged without recourse"

    So - a license for use of "intellectual property" defined in a contract of some sort is nullified by bankruptcy of said "property" owner and those who purchased licenses which cover usage are now up a creek without a paddle so to speak because they now have to stop using it or renegotiate with the new owner of said "ip". Amirite? ... because this has a really bad impact upon the future viability of such arrangements - no? I mean who in their right mind would shell out bongo bucks for flim flam crapola which may evaporate without warning? Seriously.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    Re: No Big Deal

    If you do not like the 3D tech presently covered under "intellectual property" rights then just make your own - right? Certainly you will not be sued for infringement of the idea of 3D films - right? Because that would never happen.

     

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  38.  
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    sumbodysaid, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    First I just moved on.

    Then I had snarky thoughts.

    Then I thought "Seriously?"

    So, I have to ask; Is your question serious? Because, what can't a company do these days? They run the government and execute on its demands and desires, they run rough shod over the individual rights of people, they impose draconian financial remedy as if the only value of someone else's life is the money that they can suck out of it and they, for the most part, have undue influence for every law imaginable.

    I'm guessing "yes" that is something that a company can do. Especially one with a good amount of investment capital in the daily running of its parent company: USG.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Let 3D die...

    But then they will not have an excuse for charging more at the theater for both 3D and 2D films, not matter how crappy they are.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Ariel was 16 in "The Little Mermaid". Where in the name of Neptune's knickerbockers did you get the idea she was 12?
    If she didn't have any tits, what were those clamshells covering?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Another comment because I don't like disney greed

    "Darth Mickey" -- love the moniker!

     

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  42.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Can't resist

    Disney suddenly running into issues over the possibility that patents might block it from doing something it wants to do.
    I know it's really shallow and everything, but considering this is disney somehow the urge is just irresistable...

    Ha ha hahahaha hahhaaaaaa hahaa haha hahaahahahahahahahahaha haaaaaa ha ha haaaaaaaaa

    Oh please, if there is any kind of justice in the universe, pleeeease let this come to pass that we do not have to suffer "Pinocchio 3D: Revenge of the Nose"

     

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  43.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Or, the cold war would end 20 years later
    But you still wouldn't be allowed to use the terms "atom bomb", "nuclear bomb", "bikini" or "mushroom cloud" or make any films with those things in 'til 2037....

     

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  44.  
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    Sabrina Thompson (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 4:50pm

    I so want to boycott disney. As a kid I didn't like many of their movies now I hate disney greed. I think we should all boycott disney. If people stopped buying their stuff maybe they might realize how foolish the company has been. Perhaps disney will become unpopular with this generation and fade. I hardly watch disney anymore and knowing how they are on copyright I may just boycott them all togother even though I wanted to go on their rides for vacation.

    Abolish the "Copyright" Monopoly

     

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  45.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    You kidding, that would have just caused it to be even worse! Think about it...

    U.S. Senator 1:... so not only are they commie scum, they violated our atom bomb copyright!!

    U.S. Senator 2: Clearly we are dealing with fiends from the very bowels of hell. And as like must be fought with like, I propose we send our most heinous weapon: the lawyers of the mouse-eared one.

    (cue crack of thunder in background as various shocked gasps come from around the room)

    Senator 3: I object! Unleashing such a weapon will have us all named as war criminals! Dropping a nuclear bomb on a city or two is one thing, but that... that is something so horrible as to be unthinkable. Instead, I suggest we hold back, and wait for their evil ways to cause their downfall.

    (cue smattering of applause from around the room, as well as various calls of 'hear hear')

    Senator 2: Very well, we shall hold our most terrible weapon in reserve... for now.

    (cue second crack of thunder)

     

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  46.  
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    Dave Stiglitz, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    Correction

    The patents in question are from the company "RealD" not "RealID". One is a 3D process in film, the other is an identity verification service in World of Warcraft and other Blizzard Entertainment computer game titles.

    That said I think Disney is simply looking to ensure their existing agreement with RealD is recognized by the new patent holders. Nothing to see here.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 8:44pm

    Time to renegotiate the terms of that agreement since they are about to expire.

    Mwahahahaha!

     

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  48.  
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    Daniel (profile), Jan 5th, 2013 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Or someone else would of developed something better, making it irrelevant and likely causing 2-10 times the damage.

     

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  49.  
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    Jack Shappa, Jan 5th, 2013 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re:

    She's 16 in Disney's Little Mermaid and most definifely has tits.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2013 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Correction

    Problem is the court held that the important part of the contract, the part dealing with future works, did not "survive" bankruptcy intact, precisely the opposite of what Disney wanted to hear.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2013 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Correction

    Problem is the court held that the important part of the contract, the part dealing with future works, did not "survive" bankruptcy intact, precisely the opposite of what Disney wanted to hear.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2013 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Correction

    Problem is the court held that the important part of the contract, the part dealing with future works, did not "survive" bankruptcy intact, precisely the opposite of what Disney wanted to hear.

     

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  53.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 3:26am

    Re:

    Now it's Irony - 3D!

     

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  54.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    Re: Let 3D die...

    Oh how I loathe 3D. Every single damn company seem to have jumped the 3D hype bandwagon to the point it's becoming increasingly hard to find regular non-3D tvs, not to mention some movies where the availability of non-3D content is close to null unless you want to subject yourself to weird show times or pretty far theaters. Annoying.

    As for me, I'll freaking download the 2D version if the studios don't want to offer it. Or do without. I'm finding out that it's pretty easy to do without nowadays considering the amount of content being generated. Loss to the studios whether I 'pirate' or do without.

     

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  55.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    No, but you will be able to ogle at Dory from Finding Nemo in 3D.

     

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  56.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    A fire will only defrost him.

     

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  57.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re: Let 3D die...

    I don't know, tickets to those HFR 48fps movies like The Hobbit cost more than regular tickets too.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    And users have no sympathy for Disney. They might have had alot more people caring if they weren't so anti-consumer.

     

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  59.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 7th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: How I imagine it went down...

    Delicious! I'd read 300 pages of this.

     

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  60.  
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    Gregg, Jan 7th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    I'll second that motion......

     

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  61.  
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    Gregg, Jan 7th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, she was 16, yes she is a mermaid, but you are all forgetting that she is transgendered.....

     

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  62.  
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    Shane Roach, Jan 8th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    3d

    High def tv's are going down in price, to be sure, but for 3d to be worth the trouble I need a wall sized tv with 3d.

    When they start taking the price of that down under $500.00, someone Skype me.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually she's 16. She even says it in the movie. -_-

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    WigglesWorth, May 7th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    That wouldn't work. Other countries don't recognize U.S. copyrights and laws. The U.S. government would have had to patent the atomic bomb in Russia itself and I'm fairly certain Russia's government would just use the plans patented to produce the bombs faster than they did. Because governments can and will take what they feel is needed to make sure their country survives.

     

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


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