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Author Topic: Disney 'Pirated' film
Donovan
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by LemonLimeade:
quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
I would suspect that someone with the pocketbooks of Disney wouldn't risk a copyright violation -- they'd simply buy out the story rights. So I doubt this suit has any merit
Assuming they deliberately used the story in question, yes. But it also happens that creative types sometimes subconsciously recall ideas they've heard elsewhere and inadvertently pitch them as original creations.

- snopes

That happened on The Twilight Zone with an episode called "Sounds and Silences." Someone had sent Rod Serling a script which was rejected and he forgot all about it. Two years later he wrote basically the same story, which became that episode. The original author sued and the case was settled for about $3500. They then locked up the episode in the vaults and it wasn't shown again until a few years ago.

OT: I wonder how vanilla came to mean 'bland.' Vanilla really isn't bland.

On a similar note, I was asking a sci-fi/fantasy author to look at the first couple of chapters I had written of a book ([asside to wife]yes dear, I will get back on that[/asside to wife]) and she said that it was her policy not to read more than three paragraphs to avoid just this kind of issue. (And if you are interested, she stopped after one paragraph [the standard that most attribute to the adverage book buyer] and said I had enough to grab attention, but I gotta finish the damn thing one day.)

da Donovan

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Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

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Chickee Daizy
Live and Let Madai


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quote:
Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker:
quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
I just don't think it's copyright infringement if he didn't get it copyrighted until after the movie came out. It sounds like he is trying to scam Disney to me. Maybe I'm biased though, because I love that movie.

And I have to say that even if he did write it (which I kind of doubt anyway), if he wasn't smart enough to copyright the screenplay until after Disney released the movie, then he wasn't all that bright about it.

Copyright is automatic. He had the copyright in his script the minute he put words on paper (or electrons into a file). He didn't register the copyright, but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.

Not that I think this guy is likely to prove his case.

Seaboe

I will admit that I don't know anything about copyright violation or any of that stuff. But how can they prove he wrote it if he didn't register his copyright, whether or not copyright is automatic? That was what I was trying to say in the earlier post. Sounds like it's pretty much his word against Disney's and he has no proof.

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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
quote:
Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker:
quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
I just don't think it's copyright infringement if he didn't get it copyrighted until after the movie came out. It sounds like he is trying to scam Disney to me. Maybe I'm biased though, because I love that movie.

And I have to say that even if he did write it (which I kind of doubt anyway), if he wasn't smart enough to copyright the screenplay until after Disney released the movie, then he wasn't all that bright about it.

Copyright is automatic. He had the copyright in his script the minute he put words on paper (or electrons into a file). He didn't register the copyright, but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.

Not that I think this guy is likely to prove his case.

Seaboe

I will admit that I don't know anything about copyright violation or any of that stuff. But how can they prove he wrote it if he didn't register his copyright, whether or not copyright is automatic? That was what I was trying to say in the earlier post. Sounds like it's pretty much his word against Disney's and he has no proof.
Exactly, unless he has a whitness and some kind of proof. its his word agasinst Disney, and its nto a good word either. All disney has to show is that he had no proof the story was written until after the movie was released. Heck, several years beofre that since the studio undoubibly has evidence when teh story was submitted. Furthermore, how was disney supposed to have obtained the "script " if we have only hweard about it until after the moviie was made.

Sadly this guy's chances are about as good as Barbossa become an angel of mercy.

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Chipper McGee
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by UrbanRenewal:
"The Lion King" is just "Hamlet" with a happy ending. Maybe Shakespeare should sue. [Wink]

But then the author of "Ur-Hamlet" (possibly Thomas Kyd) would need to sue Shakespeare. In fact there would be a whole line waiting to sue Willie.
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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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Do correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that he doesn't have to prove that Disney "stole" the idea. He just has to prove that he was the one who had the story first. Even if Disney created the same story by coincidence, it's still essentially his intellectual property so long as he can prove he had developed it before they did.

If I have an invention and patent it, it doesn't matter if you independently come up with same (or similar enough) design, it's still mine.

Now I realize that copyright and patent are not identical, but isn't the basic principle the same?

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Eh, really it sounds more made up to me then anything...

If we go with plot alone, its probobly been done to death, heck I used to play D&D with a guy who used the whole moonlight/undead thing (though it was a town not a ship), its hardly an original idea.

As for the professions (eccentric pirate, governers daughter, blacksmith/swordsman, undead captain, etc) those too are hardly original thoughts, particularly since we don't really see examples (eccentric could mean alot of things).

Lastly the names, this is the big hitter that, to me, screams scam. I imagine there are (assuming he is being truthful) one of two possibilities, either Disney intentionally stole the idea, or they came up with it accidentally* and it was very similar. If they stole it I cannot imagine them being foolish enough to use identical names, if they didn't steal it I have a hard time believing that purly by chance they came up with identical names.

Lastly, and granted thats just an article, but there really aren't many similarities there, and I'm wondering just how many differences there are. I'd really be more interested in reading his piece to see just how similar it is.

Screams scam to me, plus his demand will never happen:

quote:
Alleging copyright infringement, the lawsuit asks for unspecified damages and that all copies of the movie be destroyed.
I could sort of see them stopping production if he won, but how could you destroy copies of it once sold?


*A possible third is that people read his script, put it down, then subconciously came up with the idea, but for that to be true then the people who screen scripts sent to disney in the mail must be the exact same people who came up with the idea for Pirates, with the huge staff disney must have I think its unlikely those are the same people.

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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That struck me, too, Mickey Blue. I wondered if it meant all original copies of the film, that were in Disney's possesion.

Then, I wondered if that demand was part of the cash grab - since it's impossible to destroy all copies of the film, then maybe he could demand monetary compensation for each extant copy. Not that I think that he will win.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Donovan Ravenhull:
...On a similar note, I was asking a sci-fi/fantasy author to look at the first couple of chapters I had written of a book ([asside to wife]yes dear, I will get back on that[/asside to wife]) and she said that it was her policy not to read more than three paragraphs to avoid just this kind of issue. ...

My agent will not countenance my reading other people's manuscripts because one of his other authors, trying to be helpful, critiqued an aspiring writer's novel manuscript and was almost immediately sued for stealing the aspiring writer's ideas in his new book . . . case was dismissed, because the book, published only three weeks after the author did the critique, had been written and turned in more than a whole year before, but it cost the writer in legal fees and took up lots of his time.

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DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
Do correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that he doesn't have to prove that Disney "stole" the idea. He just has to prove that he was the one who had the story first. Even if Disney created the same story by coincidence, it's still essentially his intellectual property so long as he can prove he had developed it before they did.

If I have an invention and patent it, it doesn't matter if you independently come up with same (or similar enough) design, it's still mine.

Now I realize that copyright and patent are not identical, but isn't the basic principle the same?

--Logoboros

If I recal, he not only has to prove that he came up with the idea, but he has to show that the two are similar works (easy enough). He also has to prove that Disney had access to his original. I beleive that in Copyright law, two idential copyrights can be held if the works were arrived at independently of each other.

In otherwords, if I had lived in a cave for my whole life and had could prove that I had never encountered "Star Wars," I probably publish a very similar story with many of the same elements (Stormtroopers, Jedi, The Force, etc).
At least in theory. The reality is that Lucas can afford better lawyers than I can and would be better able to win the suit or at least stop my version from beung published.

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
If I have an invention and patent it, it doesn't matter if you independently come up with same (or similar enough) design, it's still mine.

Now I realize that copyright and patent are not identical, but isn't the basic principle the same?

--Logoboros

I'm not sure the basic principle is the same. Patent and copyright are quite different at the most basic level. For example, as soon as you create an original work, it is copyrighted. Registering it just makes it easier to prove. An unpatented idea or invention gives you no rights and no protection.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
If I recall, he not only has to prove that he came up with the idea, but he has to show that the two are similar works (easy enough). He also has to prove that Disney had access to his original. I believe that in Copyright law, two idential copyrights can be held if the works were arrived at independently of each other.

In other words, if I had lived in a cave for my whole life and had could prove that I had never encountered "Star Wars," I probably publish a very similar story with many of the same elements (Stormtroopers, Jedi, The Force, etc).
At least in theory. The reality is that Lucas can afford better lawyers than I can and would be better able to win the suit or at least stop my version from being published.

You are basically correct. You would not be allowed to publish, but it would probably be held not to be infringement, either. ETA: There might be a chance that it would be held to be (on your part) unintentional infringement--but that usually happens to celebrities ( [Wink] ) like Helen Keller and George Harrison.

This gentleman merely has to show his script is older than Disney's and that Disney had access. The older than really isn't much of an issue (I'm sure he had friends who knew he was writing); the access is.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Nitpick: You can't copyright an "idea". The copyright is for the fixed work, not the concept behind it.
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Mycroft
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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re the names in Lion King- Simba is Swahili for lion and is quite well known in the UK (especially as a dog name)
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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Mickey Blue:

quote:
Alleging copyright infringement, the lawsuit asks for unspecified damages and that all copies of the movie be destroyed.
I could sort of see them stopping production if he won, but how could you destroy copies of it once sold?
Though the logistics of achieving this today (what with thousands or millions of DVD sales) are insane, it has (nearly) happened.

The silent classic Nosferatu was very nearly lost because it was found in violation of Bram Stoker's rights (as exercised by his estate), and the negatives and a great many prints were destroyed. Some, stashed away, survived, and thus we have the film today. But they certainly tried to annihilate it.

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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Chickee Daizy
Live and Let Madai


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But how can he prove his script is older than Disney's without the register of copyright? That's what I'm not getting. I mean, if his friends or family say he was writing it, how does that have any weight in court, because they could be lying.

Plus, like I said before, it seems fishy that he waited so long to register that one thing and did all his other works so quickly after they were finished.

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
But how can he prove his script is older than Disney's without the register of copyright? That's what I'm not getting. I mean, if his friends or family say he was writing it, how does that have any weight in court, because they could be lying.

Plus, like I said before, it seems fishy that he waited so long to register that one thing and did all his other works so quickly after they were finished.

But they'd have to say it under oath (and have their words evaluated by judge and/or jury). And it's entirely possible that he could have more than friends and family who have seen it. Maybe he pitched it to other producers. Maybe he showed it around a screenwriting workshop, or sent a copy to an old professor or something.

He may not have any of these things, which will mean he'll have a hell of a time convincing people of his case. But I don't think we know yet that he doesn't have any of this type of evidence up his sleeve.

Also, my understanding was that if he did originated the key concepts and key details but Disney hadn't actually ever been exposed to them he couldn't get damages for copyright infringement, but he would still be entitled to a share of the revenue (and official credit).

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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Pondicherry Pi
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by 1958Fury:
Yeah, people claimed that both "The Lion King" and "Atlantis" were rip-offs of anime, etc...

I don't know about Atlantis, but I first saw the Lion King/Kimba thing when I saw a preview for Kimba: The White Lion on an anime DVD.

The similarities are more that just surface deep too. This page has a great side-by-side comparison: Kimba page

Admittedly, the similarities between Finding Nemo and Pierrot the Clown Fish are superficial enough to chalk it up to pure coincidence, though.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Chickee Daisy:
I mean, if his friends or family say he was writing it, how does that have any weight in court, because they could be lying.

That's the point--by going to court, the judge (or the jury) weighs the evidence and decides who's telling the truth. Think about it--just about every civil case ever filed comes down to who you believe, the plaintiff or the defendant. Why should copyright be different?

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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That's why (in Germany, but I guess mileages are the same here) while criminal proceedings need to "prove beyond reasonable doubt" that X did Y, in civil court cases the judges basically decide which side is more probable (with a slight bias towards the status quo). I guess this is why, e.g., OJ Simpson wasn't found guilty in criminal court but still had to pay huge amounts of money: in the judges' eyes it was probable that he murdered his wife, but not proven beyond doubt.

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UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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quote:
quote:Originally posted by UrbanRenewal:
"The Lion King" is just "Hamlet" with a happy ending. Maybe Shakespeare should sue. [Wink]

But then the author of "Ur-Hamlet" (possibly Thomas Kyd) would need to sue Shakespeare. In fact there would be a whole line waiting to sue Willie.

You know, I was really hoping someone would come back to me with that. [Wink]

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domina
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I really don't understand this demand to destroy the movie. I can kinda understand with Bram Stoker, but if you're an aspiring screenwriter it would seem to be shooting yourself in the foot. "Hey remember that movie Pirates of the Caribbean? It existed for a few years in the early 2000s? Well I came up with the idea for that!"

It adds weight to the idea that he's just trying to scare Disney into a settlement.

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mrs.hi-c clown fishies
Happy Holly Days


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It seems like anytime something becomes insanely popular, there's someone out there looking to get rich quick by crying fraud--

This case reminds me of another case: Larry Potter

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Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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I'm surprised no one has brought up Joseph Campbell and his book Hero with a Thousand Faces in which he addresses the theory of the monomyth. The monomyth concept is that stories including myths, legends, and religious tales have similar patterns and structures. Some people extrapolate this to mean that there are no original stories, just a reordering of these existing patterns and structures so in a sense, we have been ripping us all off since the beginning of time. Not everyone agrees with this theory as there are stories that do not fit the patterns and some feel the theory only works with cliches or it's a circular definition.

Or maybe it's all just coincidence if you believe the "monkey and typewriter" theory.

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"Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself." - Hamlet

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Well I've never read that book but I do think there are really (at least in todays mainstream cinema) only a handfull of stories that get rehashed with differnet people and minor alterations tot he plot.

Think about every chick flick you've seen, did the majority of them go something like this?


- Main character is avoiding all love for some reason, maybe they were hurt in the past, maybe they want to stay single, maybe they want to work on their career, ect.

- Main charcter meets an unlikely romantic partner, usually because one or the other or both have some veiled agenda for seeing them, at first they see the relationship as a means to some end but they, of course, fall madly in love.

- Just when everything is going perfect somehow the veield agenda, which may not have been a big deal at the time, comes to light, usually revealed by another charcter by accident or to enact revenge.

- Montage after the split up with sad romancy music playing, the various characters are shown " thinking" and trying to reenter their formers lives (Dating, work, etc) but unable to perform correctly. Ultimatly a trusted friend (usually flawed in some way, dorky, chubby, wierd, etc) tells them to get over it and go find the other person.

- Climactic reunion just before the other leaves the area/gets married/joins the army/etc.

- They live happily ever after with an end scene that brings back the majority of the characters in some happy go lucky party atmosphere, sometimes with some level of commupance for the 'evil' character.

- The end


I could do the same for action movies, cop dramas, etc but it would become to long of a post for my stomach.


Ultimatly though I don't think its that all the stories have been done, rather that mainstream film would rather make a rehash of what has worked in the past then risk funding something original that might fail. The above chick flick formula is time tested, it will usually make some money, and while nobody may leave saying it was an amazing film that they will remember forever, it will make some cash for the producers, which is the ultimate goal.

Its sort of like when you have to decide to eat at a place you know is pretty good, but not great, and you've been to before, or eat somewhere new that may be great, may be average, or may suck.. Also you only get one or two meals a year, and the meals cost millions of dollars [Smile]

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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That's sort of what Joseph Campbell said. One thing that I like said by either Joseph Campbell or Chris Vogler (I'm paraphrasing):

The fact that all stories draw from the same elements is by no means a criticism, just as all painters draw from the same palette of colors. It is how they combine and utilize these elements is what's important and makes it unique.

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"Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself." - Hamlet

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