Disney Enterprises and Buena Vista Pay Television filed a claim yesterday in Federal Court in New York yesterday against Dish Network claiming that Dish Network has been engaging in ‘unauthorized and unlawful distribution, transmission, copying and public display and/or performance of numerous, highly successful motion pictures owned and licensed by’ Disney.
The complaint specifically names Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, Up ‘and others’ involved in acts of the violation as well as an intent for ‘imminent plans to unlawfully distribute, transmit, copy and publicly display and/or perform such recent hit movies as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Secretariat, and Tangled, among others, all without authorization from Plaintiff.’
At the heart of the complaint is Disney’s agreement with Starz Entertainment which has limited rights to broadcast the films with what Disney calls an ‘express condition’ that Starz operates as a premium service, charging for the right to subscribe to its channel. Disney claims that a recent move by Dish Network to offer the Starz networks free to subscribers through January 2012 is in violation of Disney’s rights under federal law and that Dish did so without consenting either Disney or Starz in the matter. This, according to the complaint, ‘[threatens] the Plaintiff with the specter of continued irreparable harm unless Dish’s actions are preliminarily and permanently enjoined by this Court.’
The complaint goes on to explain the process of ‘windowing’ in which theatrically released films generally go through a chain of command before being accessible to the public in a venue that’s free of any additional charges, a process which Disney is claiming Dish to be jeopardizing by its actions. According to the complaint, after its theatrical run, the industry norm is to first offer the film to hotel video-on-demand and pay-per-view services, followed by home video releases, followed by premium cable networks and lastly, free to viewers. By offering the films free to subscribers via the Starz Networks, Dish is effectively reducing the value of the films as there is less incentive for customers to purchase the rights to see the films otherwise.
Disney is seeking unspecified damages equal to the maximum statutory amount allowed by law for copyright infringement for each airing named by the complaint as well as trebel damages for what they call ‘willful misconduct’ by Dish Network for ignoring cease and desist letters in the past.
U.S. District Judge John R. Padova has ruled that a recent lawsuit charging an act of molestation by Donald Duck in Epcot back in 2008 will go forward in Pennsylvania despite attempts by The Walt Disney Company to have the case moved to Florida.
According to the decision, the plaintiff, April Magolon, her fiance (a witness) and her doctors are all located in the state, justifying the decision to leave the case within its borders.
Magolon, who is seeking charges in excess of $50,000, has claimed that the incident has resulted in ‘severe physical injury, emotional anguish and distress including, but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder.’
Magolon’s complaint, which is linked to in our original coverage of the lawsuit, alleges that molestation of guests by characters is a chronic situation in the parks and goes on to cite a previous case that went to trial, that of Michael Chartrand, which resulted in a not guilty verdict due to the ability of the defense proving that full awareness of the environment as well as physical movement is constrained by the costume itself.
TMZ is reporting that designer Arman Mkrtchyan has filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court against The Walt Disney Company on the grounds that his work was used in Walt Disney Studios’ Alice in Wonderland without any compensation. Claiming that the Red Queen’s throne is a virtual clone of his own piece (and that he in fact had designed a matching set, representing each suit), Mkrtchyan is suing Disney for a ‘designer’s fee’ in the amount of $50,000.
If the case does go to trial, don’t anticipate it to be scheduled on the same day the Knave of Hearts is finally brought to justice for stealing tarts.
CNET News is reporting on a class action lawsuit recently filed on behalf on a group of minors and their parents which claims that Disney Internet Media Group (named as Walt Disney Internet Group) and Disney-owned Soapnet LLC along with co-defendants Warner Bros. Records, Ustream, Inc., Clearspring Technologies, Inc., Demand Media, Inc., Project Playlist, Inc., and SodaHead, Inc. were involved in tracking users’ internet activity even while accessing websites not owned by them.
At the heart of the suit is the technology by Clearspring Technologies, Inc. which is used on the various websites of the named content providers. According to the claim and a report by UC Berkley, via CNET,the technology uses Adobe Flash-based cookies which are not controlled by the same guidelines as traditional internet browser cookies. Essentially the Flash cookies are stored separately from other cookies so deleting one set does not affect the other; in addition, ClearSpring is accused of re-spawning cookies that have actually been deleted. Using a social-media share service, ClearSpring creates the cookies that uniquely identify the computer and feed that information back to the company.
The suit also claims that the technology was able to track the same users regardless of the computer they were using at the time. According to CNET, the lawsuit claims that “the sensitive information may include such things as users’ video-viewing choices and personal characteristics, such as gender, age, race, number of children, education level, geographic location, and household income.”
The article even includes an extract from the complaint which demonstrates that one user was on a site about depression, possibly providing the companies insight into confidential issues such as health.
The lawsuit claims that Disney and the other mentioned customers of ClearSpring Technologies were actively aware of the collection of this data.
Earlier today, The Smoking Gun published a claim filed by April Magolon of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania which claims that while visiting Donald Duck at Epcot Center [sic] in 2008, Donald had deliberately grabbed her ‘breast and molest[ed] her and then made gestures making a joke he had done something wrong.’ Magolon, who reportedly had her children with her, is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for negligence and seeking in excess of $50,000, claiming to have suffered ‘severe physical injury, emotional anguish and distress including, but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder.’
The claim being made by Magolon is — in many respects — unremarkable in that even it asserts there is a chronic problem with characters behavior in the parks. What is remarkable, however, is that the claim goes to great lengths to offer up one of the few cases that have actually gone to trial to support its own case, that of Michael Chartrand. Chartrand, a once friend of Tigger, faced up to fifteen years in prison on felony charges in which he was accused of molesting a 13 year old while in costume. What Magolon’s plea fails to note, however, is that Chartrand was found not guilty after the Defense brought the costume into the courtroom to prove the limitations it placed on vision and movement.
Suffering ‘pain, shock and mental anguish’ and an inability to perform ‘normal activities’ since tripping and falling along a walkway in Epcot, Judith Franzen of New York has filed a federal lawsuit against Walt Disney World / Disney Parks and Resorts last Friday. The complaint, which seeks an even one million dollars in damages, asserts that Walt Disney World was previously aware of the unnamed condition of the walkway which caused the accident on April 22, 2008 and that the resort was ‘negligent, careless, reckless and grossly negligent.’
Just how serious is Disney/Marvel about producing an Ant-Man movie? Few in the world are likely to be more interested than the children of comics author Jack Kirby who have named Ant-Man along with Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor, Nick Fury a seemingly endless list of comics titles and specific issues in a lawsuit claiming they are the rightful (co-)owners of these creations.
Filed on March 9 in the US District Court in the Central District of California, the complaint filed by Lisa, Barbara, Neal and Susan Kirby as well as the estate of Kirby’s wife, Rosalind, rebquests a trial by jury, seeking unspecified damages against previous and current earnings on these properties of which Disney/Marvel has current control.
Making a very persuasive argument, particularly if it’s all true, the complaint inks a portrait in which a financially strapped Marvel purchased the comics from freelancer Jack Kirby ad hoc — sans contracts and that Kirby created everything on his own time in his own place of residence with his own tools so that he was at no time able to be considered ‘work for hire’ as Disney/Marvel has contended.
Marjory Marchand of New York filed a lawsuit in United States District Court earlier this weeking seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from Walt Disney World, Niki Bryan Spas and GF Spa Ltd. Through the complaint, Marchand stated that in July of 2008, as part of a Walt Disney World vacation, she participated in a private massage taking place at the Grand Floridian resort. It was during the massage that Marchand alleges she was violated sexually by a male masseur, resulting in ‘lack of trust, anger, irritability, anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks, feelings of abandonment shame, feelings of being unclean, fear of being alone, poor mood, feeling distracted, confused, and in self-doubt.’
Although the complaint acknowledges that the spa in question is operated by an outside vendor, it includes the Walt Disney World Resort in the action stating that Disney initially represented itself as providing and being directly responsible for the services and did not take necessary measures to protect guests from said harm regardless of the actual service provider.
Earlier this week, Icebox-Scoops of Brooklyn, NY filed a lawsuit against Disney in federal court claiming that Disney engaged in unfair business practices, effectually negating existing rights the company had obtained to create and market a line of cosmetics under the Tinkerbell name.
Tinkerbell (as opposed to Disney’s Tinker Bell) is owned by a company called Finanz St. Honore, B.V., who obtained the rights to Tinkerbell in 1951 from Great Ormond Street Hospital (Disney’s Peter Pan was released in 1953). Throughout the years, there has been little dispute to ownership of Tink and according to Finanz, the only limitation they have in regards to use of the fairy is that Disney’s representation of her cannot be replicated.
The complaint states that upon learning of the rights obtained by Icebox-Scoops in 2005, that Disney began negotiating directly with Finanz behind Icebox-Scoop’s back in an attempt to acquire Icebox-Scoops’ rights, resulting in an early termination of Icebox-Scoop’s contract with Finanz.
Alleging violation of the California Legal Remedies Act and the California Business Code, the class action claims that Disney has not fulfilled its promise of offering full refunds on Baby Einstein DVDs purchased since an uproar was caused over a report that determined that the videos had no positive intellectual effect on infants despite claims made on the initial product. Although Disney acquired Baby Einstein in 2001, the current refund offer which was intended to fend off a class action lawsuit of its own, only covers videos sold since 2004.
The new action seeks to expand the refund coverage to videos sold as early as Disney distributed the products as well as to pay pack the full price of the DVDs including shipping and handling costs and to abolish the 4 titles per household limit, which is in place to deter others from accumulating used DVDs at a discounted rate in order to cash in on the refunds.