by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 26th 2012 1:27pm
A few folks sent over the following story of how Disney is being sued for copyright infringement. Seems a bit ironic, given just how strict Disney has been over the years in enforcing its copyright and being at the forefront of efforts to expand copyright law -- even as it tend to build some of its greatest works by copying works in the public domain. In this case, a design company produced a graphic that consists of drawings of dozens of dogs, each with a little signature under their names:
Disney then introduced a teen fashion line called "D-Signed." However, some noticed that one of the t-shirts had a design quite reminiscent of the original dog artwork.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see where those particular images were directly copied from the original. As fun as it would be to catch Disney in a clear copyright violation, the dogs on the t-shirt don't appear to be the same. And, we're always told that there's an "idea/expression" dichotomy in copyright law, which is supposed to mean that you only protect the specific and defined expression -- not the general idea. So I'm just not sure I see how this is infringing, even if the idea was taken from their poster. Obviously I can understand the creators' frustration, but that hardly means there's a legal claim. Update: On closer inspection, as pointed out in the comments with a handy illustration, it turns out the copying was more direct than we thought.
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