Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Soon, Disney will just own Childhood™®

Hm. Disney is always scary, but this is something else.

"You probably are not aware that earlier this month Disney applied to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand for sweeping trade mark protection around works that Disney did not create.
You may be astonished at the breadth of the application being lodged by a company that has done no more, in this case, than produce adaptations of classic works of children's literature. Ditto for Snow White, Peter Pan, Pinocchio and a list of characters from those works.

This is not trivial. It would be understandable for Disney to try and protect its interpretations of existing characters, but its application for so-called "word marks" implies something much more than that: it implies exclusive rights to use all those characters. There have been at least 14 English-language films based on Carlo Collodi's 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (which itself drew on classical sources), and many more in other languages. If Disney was to obtain such trade marks (which cover "motion picture films"), would it then become impossible to make - or at least market - another one without Disney's permission? Would it be a copyright lockout via the back door?"


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