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

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63 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 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)

WigglesWorth says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Sabrina (profile) says:

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.

Sabrina says:

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.

DogBreath says:

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.”

Ima Fish (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Capt ICE Enforcer says:

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.

Ninja (profile) says:

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.

sumbodysaid (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

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”

Sabrina Thompson (profile) says:

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

Dave Stiglitz says:

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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