Categories
animation copyright Disney

"Vice presidents from Disney don’t contact just any old Joe Schmoe off the street."

After reading this Newsday.com (Updated link:) wdwmagic forum article about a scuba-diving dentist that claims Disney and Pixar Animation Studios stole the idea for the hit film “Finding Nemo” from him, I think he may have a case.

He claims he submitted an illustrated manuscript to Disney and talked on the phone about his story with a writer from Pixar. (The two companies have a distribution partnership.)

A Disney vice president told Sternberg in 1996 that although the story had “great potential,” it did not fit into the studio’s “development slate” at that time, according to the suit.

Seven years later, Sternberg was in a movie theater and saw a preview for the upcoming release of “Finding Nemo.”

“I thought, ‘Hey, I’m the scuba-diving dentist. Those are my characters, that’s my story,”‘ he told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday’s editions. “It made me sick to my stomach.”

One big similarity: Sternberg story has a character named “Nimo.”

The thing is, before he submitted his manuscript he signed a two-page waiver that said he would be entitled to only $500 if he were to claim that the company used his material without permission or authorization. His lawyer is asking the court to void that waiver.

Categories
copyright Music

Grey Tuesday

I read the headlines about Grey Tuesday last week as it approached but I didn’t bother to read what it was all about. I thought it sounded boring.

So today I read all about it and I downloaded a couple of songs from DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album this afternoon. While I strongly believe in the principle of Grey Tuesday, that is to say that copyright law needs reform, I have to say the songs themselves didn’t bake my cake. I guess I’m just not into that indie rap stuff. Anyway I do hope the attention that the Grey Album is getting will bring about some common-sense changes to copyright law.

For those of you unfamiliar with the situation, let me catch you up to speed.

DJ Danger Mouse has taken audio tracks from Rapper Jay-Z’s Black Album and remixed them with music from the Beatles White Album. The new album is cleverly titled The Grey Album.

Enter EMI and copyright lawyers. They claimed that he had not asked permission or paid for the rights to use The Beatles music and demanded that he stop selling his record. The DJ agreed to comply with the order and is no longer distributing the record, which was allegedly only intended for the ears of friends.

But the story doesn’t end there. In issuing the order, EMI has unwittingly thrust The Grey Album into the public spotlight, prompting guerilla music lovers to post MP3s on their websites and blogs specifically on, but not limited to, Tuesday February 24th. Considering that only 3,000 copies of The Gray Album were pressed and the fact that it has been banned pretty much guarantees a Holy Grail status among hip-hop fans and serious music collectors alike.

“Grey Tuesday” Civil Disobedience Planned February 24th Against Copyright Cartel

In protest of EMI’s action approximately 170 sites hosted a full copy of the Grey Album on Tuesday, in spite of the fact that many of those sites had received cease and desist letters from EMI’s lawyers.

So how successful did Grey Tuesday turn out to be?

“After a survey of the sites that hosted files during Grey Tuesday, and an analysis of filesharing activity on that day, we can confidently report that the Grey Album was the number one album in the US on February 24 by a large margin. Danger Mouse moved more “units” than Norah Jones and Kanye West, with well over 100,000 copies downloaded. That’s more than 1 million digital tracks.”

I think that’s pretty cool.

Categories
copyright

RIAA Sues Again

The RIAA has just issued a new lawsuit against 532 more “illegal filesharers” only this time, they’re also using the “john doe” approach meaning that they don’t have to have ascertain your name by strong-arming ISPs, but by suing your IP address, they let the judicial system take care of that little detail.

Categories
copyright law

Micro$oft Picks Fight with Mike Rowe

The Software giant is mad because Mike Rowe’s new website http://www.mikerowesoft.com sounds a lot like Microsoft.com. Well boo-hoo. They offered him $10 to buy the domain from him. He said he’d like $10,000 and after they realized their scare tactics weren’t working it sounds like they might actually back off, from ZDnet, “We take our trademarks seriously, but in this case maybe a little too seriously. It’s important to recognize that under the law companies are required to take this type of action to protect their trademark against widespread infringement. But that said, we appreciate that Mike Rowe is a young entrepreneur who came up with a creative domain name. We’re currently in the process of resolving this matter in a way that will be fair to him and satisfy our obligations under trademark law.”