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Disney Video Used to Explain Copyright 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the insanely-well-done dept.
Recently a pretty amazing video surfaced that used clips from Disney films to explain copyright law. It was created by Eric Faden of Bucknell University and must have taken an insane amount of time to assemble. Now you have to wonder how long before someone gets sued over it. Also here is a corel cache version as well as a link to the original page.
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Disney Video Used to Explain Copyright

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  • YouTube Link (Score:1, Informative)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:02AM (#19207483) Journal
    Geez guys - even BoingBoing could find this one....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJn_jC4FNDo [youtube.com]

    enjoy.
  • that was tedious (Score:2, Informative)

    by gelfling (6534) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:09AM (#19207551) Homepage Journal
    Even for the 65 seconds I could bear to watch it.
  • by Aoreias (721149) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:10AM (#19207557)
    Clearly you missed the entire point of the video, which was to explain and demonstrate fair use at the same time. There's no trademark infringment because it is *clearly* not associated with Disney (not only is there a message clearly disclaiming it, the message is up 5 seconds before the trademark even appears).

    The video falls under fair use as it makes brief use of copyrighted works in an educational manner, and doesn't devalue any of the material that it uses in its clips.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't hoping for a DMCA takedown notice by Disney.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:11AM (#19207571)
    There's no fair use of trademarks in the sense of leading people to endorse something, but you sure as hell can use them in a criticism. And indeed, that's a damning and accurtate criticism of copyright, which Disney led the charge in twisting. Ironically that success has lead to their stagnation and need to aquire other companies rather than produce there own content internally.
  • Mirrordot (Score:4, Informative)

    by asninn (1071320) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:12AM (#19207587)
    The coral cache link isn't working for me at least, but mirrordot seems to have caught it [mirrordot.org]. Just be sure to chop off the first 3635 bytes of HTML prepended to the file.
  • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:14AM (#19207613) Homepage
    It's a short video (about 5 min) composed almost entirely of super-short clips from Disney films. Each clip typically has one or just a few words spoken by a Disney cartoon character, but the words when strung together describe copyright law, and makes a reasonable argument that it should have shorter, rather than longer duration. It also describes fair use. The film starts out with a potential violation, with Disney's film opening (the castle, and tune that goes with it). This was shown as something that can be copyrighted, and clearly does not diminish it's value, so they may be able to argue that it was fair use. I suspect this was done on purpose to pose a challenge to Disney. It ends with full disclosure of the authors, and lists each segment that was borrowed under "fair use". The film says that the original copyright law allowed for only 17 years of protection, but that today the duration is your lifetime plus 70 years for an individual, and over 100 years for a corporation. Personally, I think your works should become public domain after you die, and that corporations should have similar time-periods, let's say about 50 years.

    Personally, I hope the authors achieve some success in swaying public opinion in favor of reasonable restrictions on copyright length.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:16AM (#19207635)
    Well, considering this was released in conjunction with Stanford Law School, I'm betting they're very prepared to stand up to Disney should it come down to it.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:22AM (#19207705) Homepage
    Actually there is a fair use doctrine in trademark law, and it's called fair use, but it's quite different from the fair use doctrine of copyright law, which can lead to some confusion if you end up talking about both. Usually you end up having to qualify which one you mean.

    I found the quick cuts too jarring to allow me to watch more than a minute of it, but as for the use of the logo in the beginning, he has a decent position. Nominative use is allowed -- how can he say he's not affiliated with Disney if he can't say the name 'Disney' in the disclaimer? But the use of the entire animated logo and music would need to fall under the overall parody, which had better be non-commercial in nature, as this one appears to be. His position isn't airtight; he'd've done better to just simply say that he wasn't affiliated with Disney, rather than to use the logo animation, but he has a decent argument in his favor.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:36AM (#19207867) Homepage
    Strictly ignorant lay opinion here, but I'd think it would be OK according to the informal fair-use guidelines widely referenced by universities and libraries, e.g. the University of Texas system. [utsystem.edu]

    "Factor 1: Character of the use:" seems to me that in their first column it's nonprofit, and arguably educational. In the middle, it's criticism, commentary, and most bodaciously "transformative."

    "Factor 2: What is the nature of the work to be used?": Imaginative and published, somewhere in the "doesn't tip the balance" part of University of Texas' scale.

    "Factor 3: How much of the work will you use?" Only a small amount is being used for each work. I'm not sure what the total amount used from any individual work is, but it's tiny.

    "Factor 4: If this kind of use were widespread, what effect would it have on the market for the original or for permissions?" I find it impossible to believe that a person with a copy of this video would show it to their kids in lieu of any of the Disney films from which the clips were taken. And I don't believe the Disney organization is currently making any money at all licensing clips for use in videos like this one.

  • Make sure... (Score:5, Informative)

    by yakumo.unr (833476) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:47AM (#19208005) Homepage
    you actually read the green screen FBI warning, it's not your ordinary copyright notice :)
  • by MSZ (26307) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:58AM (#19208115)
    Original page and coral cache seem to be already slashdotted, so the only way to get it is that eeeeviiil torrent thing [thepiratebay.org].
  • by OECD (639690) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:00AM (#19208129) Journal

    The film starts out with a potential violation, with Disney's film opening (the castle, and tune that goes with it).

    Disney's logo is shown, while additional text above it says, essentially, "this is not endorsed or created by..." No potential confusion there, so the trademark (not copyright) is used appropriately.

    Oh, and the original copyright term was fourteen years, not seventeen. Personally, I can't comprehend why the digital age needs longer copyrights than the founders thought appropriate in the age of crude printing presses. It should be more like seven, these days.

  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:28AM (#19208421)
    The entire piece, including the Disney logo, is satirical and therefore protected. The key element is that the entire piece is satirical. Don't try to pull one section from the rest and you will clearly see that the authors are using everything to point out how ridiculous the laws on copyright have become.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by rajkiran_g (634912) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:25AM (#19209057)
    Here [thousandrobots.com] is an alternate URL for the video as the original one seems to be slashdotted.
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:32AM (#19209155)
    Although the film's content is most likely protected by fair use, Disney could probably sue and win with the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA [wikipedia.org].

    According to Sec. 1201 (a)(1)(A) of the DMCA:

    No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
    Disney can probably argue that all forms of media released for some of these films contained technological measures to control access to the work. So VHS versions probably contained Macrovision copy protection, and DVDs contained CSS. And therefore the author of this film circumvented the technology measure to create this work. Although another part of the authors intent here might have been to show that the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision unduly burdens fair use.
  • by Random832 (694525) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:44AM (#19209297)
    (note: IANAL) Actually, Macrovision doesn't control access as such. The reason DVD CSS "controls access" is not its role as copy protection, but its role as region enforcement. Macrovision does not aim to render the video unwatchable to anyone in possession of the legitimate original physical media. This provision was probably originally meant to apply to stuff like cd-key based enforcement of software licenses.
  • by Dan East (318230) on Monday May 21, 2007 @12:03PM (#19209531) Homepage Journal
    According to the credits at the end of the video, it contains excepts from the following Disney Films:

    Aladdin
    Alice in Wonderland
    Atlantis: The Lost Empire
    Bambi
    Beauty and the Beast
    Dumbo
    The Emperor's New Grove
    Finding Nemo
    Hercules
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    The Incredibles
    Jungle Book
    Lilo and Stitch
    The Lion King
    The Little Mermaid
    Monsters, Inc
    Mulan
    101 Dalmatians
    Peter Pan
    Pinocchio
    Sleeping Beauty
    Snow white and the Seven Dwarves
    Tarzan
    Tarzan II
    Toy Story
    Toy Story 2
    Treasure Planet

    Dan East
  • by notasheep (220779) on Monday May 21, 2007 @01:45PM (#19210721)
    The video rightly points out that it is important for ideas to become part of the public domain, as new ideas are built upon the older ones, and as a whole, exposure to those ideas are beneficial to a culture. However, I'm not fully convinced modern copyright laws have a negative impact on those beneficial aspects. Not too long ago access to the works (containers of the ideas) was difficult to attain - works were expensive to reproduce and difficult to obtain. With the advent of the modern media, public library systems, the Internet, etc., the works are fairly easy to obtain - even difficult to avoid at times - and the ideas they contain flow pretty freely throughout our culture.

    So, even if a company like Disney were to obtain a copyright for 1,000 years how are the benefits to our culture reduced? Are we less off because we can't write "The Lion King 4" using the same characters/storylines from the movie? The ideas and themes in those movies are already reproduced in hundreds and thousands of works (both older and newer than the movies) - so what's the downside?

    Asking for a well-reasoned reply...and, yes, I know this is Slashdot... But I'd like to add to my thinking on this - which I realize may be lacking.

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