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

from the hurray-for-IP-law dept

Via Copycense, we learn that the students who formed the Disney Movie Appreciation Club at Washington University in St. Louis recently had to shut down the club due to threats of IP infringement, because the students were gathering together to watch the legally obtained movies, without getting a proper license for showing it to a larger group of people (rather than just a few people). The link above decries how separated IP laws have become from their intended purpose when a group of true fans of Disney movies can’t even get together to watch them, without having to get some special license:

It makes no more sense to prohibit the viewing of a movie by multiple people than it does to prohibit the viewing of a portrait by multiple people. The people watching these films are not evil, conniving scammers out to claim Disney’s films as their own. They are simply fans of Disney movies who want to take a break from studying and relax with a few friends…. Ultimately, however, I am not on a crusade against all forms of copyright. I just want to watch my movies in peace.

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

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Companies: disney, washington university

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Comments on “Disney Appreciation Student Group Told They Can't Get Together To Watch Disney Movies”

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Jay says:

It's a matter of time

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

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

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

nifty says:

Re: University movies

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

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

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

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

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

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

Pjerky (profile) says:

If they were smart...

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

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

Perry K (profile) says:


From the link:

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

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

Mickey Mouse says:

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

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

Rick Sarvas (profile) says:

facts plz

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


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

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

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

Rick Sarvas (profile) says:

Re: Re: facts plz

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

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

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

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