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  1. #1

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    Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Full story at http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/fro...364440445.html

    Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act'

    Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

    With only two days to go before its opening night, a play to be staged by a gay and lesbian students' society at NUI Galway had to be pulled yesterday after organisers received notice from entertainment conglomerate Disney threatening legal action if the production went ahead.

    Members of the university's GigSoc were in final rehearsals for a production "loosely adapted" from the Disney film Sister Act, which was to debut at the Black Box Theatre in Galway tomorrow after six months of preparatory work.

    But yesterday afternoon, in a letter sent via a Dublin-based solicitor, Disney informed the students that the performance would breach its intellectual property rights and threatened legal proceedings if the play went ahead, according to GigSoc.

    The play's producer, Jeff Rockett, said cast members were "completely devastated" when told the news at a meeting yesterday afternoon.

    "Six months of hard work, all for nothing. Cast and crew had given up their weekends and any spare time to rehearse and promote the play," he said. "They are simply in disbelief that something they have poured their hearts and souls into has been destroyed by an organisation that has brought joy to many of them in their younger years."

    He said the play had attracted "fantastic support" from students of NUIG and neighbouring colleges, while there had been "record interest" from the general public. "We are dumbfounded by Disney's stance towards what is a charitable, non-profit-making society, aimed at promoting safety and integration for the student LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community. We were just having fun."

    Sister Act was released in 1992 by Touchstone, a film division of the Walt Disney Company. Tickets to GigSoc's abortive performance will be refunded through Galway's Town Hall Theatre.

    A spokeswoman for Disney did not return calls last night.

    © 2007 The Irish Times
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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    A spokeswoman for Disney did not return calls last night.


    That speaks volumes right there. Even Disney is ashamed of their own actions.
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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    I think Disney should've at least ask to see a rehearsal of the show. If the play is "loosely adapted" enough there may have been enough room to allow it to go on.
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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Not to take the side of the "bad guys" here, but they never should have begun such a production without first aquiring permission from Disney (or any company which might have owned the rights to the film). Theatrical productions require you to pay for the rights to perform the work. They would not have been able to do an existing show without licensing the rights either. If they had the involvement of people from the theater community, those folks should have known better.

    Add to that the fact that Disney is currently working on an official stage version of Sister Act. For the sake of protecting their intellectual property they have to stop someone else's adaptation from going forward. It could hurt their own ticket sales if someone who saw this school production thought they were seeing the official show.

    I do feel for the folks who put so much hard work into the show, but they should have known better.




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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    A spokeswoman for Disney did not return calls last night.


    That speaks volumes right there. Even Disney is ashamed of their own actions.
    Not really. It's just an ongoing legal issue that Disney isn't going to comment on.

    Disney has nothing to be ashamed of. Regardless of whether the show was for a "good cause" or not, Disney, like any other person or company, has the right to enforce its intellectual property rights. GigSoc knowingly adapted copyrighted material for its own purpose without seeking permission from Disney, and Disney called them on it.

    I see no wrongdoing on Disney's part.

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    I can just hear the spokeswoman saying, "We can't have those horrible gay people spoiling the work of Scott Rudin, Paul Rudnick, and Marc Shaiman."

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    I can just hear the spokeswoman saying, "We can't have those horrible gay people spoiling the work of Scott Rudin, Paul Rudnick, and Marc Shaiman."
    I don't find that comment very appropriate. The issue here has absolutely NOTHING to do with WHO was doing this show, just that they didn't have permission to base it on copyrighted material.




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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    I see no wrongdoing on Disney's part.
    If Disney believed they were just in taking this action, then they had the ethical obligation to return the calls and explain their actions. But by staying silent and not answering questions, they present an air of arrogance and lack of understanding over a goof-up.

    The organization involved in the production is non-profit and didn't deliberately set out to financially screw over Disney. The least Disney could have done is smooth ruffled feathers by speaking up and explaining their position.

    Bad PR is bad business. Disney seems to delight in poking themselves in the eye, over and over again.
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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by Xharryb View Post
    I don't find that comment very appropriate. The issue here has absolutely NOTHING to do with WHO was doing this show, just that they didn't have permission to base it on copyrighted material.
    It's a joke. ... hence, the smiley face.

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    I can just hear the spokeswoman saying, "We can't have those horrible gay people spoiling the work of Scott Rudin, Paul Rudnick, and Marc Shaiman."
    Being that Disney was one of the first companies to come out and openly support and give benefits to their gay and lesbian employees, I doubt that your words ever entered their minds.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    A spokeswoman for Disney did not return calls last night.


    That speaks volumes right there. Even Disney is ashamed of their own actions.
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    If Disney believed they were just in taking this action, then they had the ethical obligation to return the calls and explain their actions. But by staying silent and not answering questions, they present an air of arrogance and lack of understanding over a goof-up.

    The organization involved in the production is non-profit and didn't deliberately set out to financially screw over Disney. The least Disney could have done is smooth ruffled feathers by speaking up and explaining their position.

    Bad PR is bad business. Disney seems to delight in poking themselves in the eye, over and over again.
    I don't know of any company that releases statements so soon after any legal event.

    People have this weird vision that Disney Corps is a person. It's not. It's a business. I can't go and make Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Vest, and not expect some sort of backlash if I expect to make a profit.

    They're just protecting their intellectual property.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xharryb View Post
    Not to take the side of the "bad guys" here, but they never should have begun such a production without first aquiring permission from Disney (or any company which might have owned the rights to the film). Theatrical productions require you to pay for the rights to perform the work. They would not have been able to do an existing show without licensing the rights either. If they had the involvement of people from the theater community, those folks should have known better.

    Add to that the fact that Disney is currently working on an official stage version of Sister Act. For the sake of protecting their intellectual property they have to stop someone else's adaptation from going forward. It could hurt their own ticket sales if someone who saw this school production thought they were seeing the official show.

    I do feel for the folks who put so much hard work into the show, but they should have known better.
    I agree.

  12. #12

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    If Disney believed they were just in taking this action, then they had the ethical obligation to return the calls and explain their actions. But by staying silent and not answering questions, they present an air of arrogance and lack of understanding over a goof-up.
    Actually, they have no obligation to return unsolicited calls from the press. They could do it as a courtesy, certainly, but if they wish the action to stand by itself, no further comment is necessary. It is what it is. Why enflame the situation and draw more attention to it by commenting further? Also, for all we know, Disney did return the calls after the deadline for the article had passed.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    The organization involved in the production is non-profit and didn't deliberately set out to financially screw over Disney. The least Disney could have done is smooth ruffled feathers by speaking up and explaining their position.
    I'd say willfully violating copyright law is pretty deliberate. And, how exactly would Disney "smooth ruffled feathers"? Whether Disney responds further or not, GigSoc is still going to be pissed that they can't perform their play. I'm sure Disney spelled it out clearly for them in the letter.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Bad PR is bad business. Disney seems to delight in poking themselves in the eye, over and over again.
    What bad PR? I'll say it again: Disney wasn't the group that did something wrong.

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    If Disney believed they were just in taking this action, then they had the ethical obligation to return the calls and explain their actions. But by staying silent and not answering questions, they present an air of arrogance and lack of understanding over a goof-up.
    It might have been a goof up as you say, but why does the student group blame Disney and not there own people, They could have said we made a mistake and did not realise we could not do this. They blamed Disney not themselves.


    this was there statement
    But yesterday afternoon, in a letter sent via a Dublin-based solicitor, Disney informed the students that the performance would breach its intellectual property rights and threatened legal proceedings if the play went ahead, according to GigSoc.
    they did make a statement, and this was it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    The organization involved in the production is non-profit and didn't deliberately set out to financially screw over Disney. The least Disney could have done is smooth ruffled feathers by speaking up and explaining their position.
    why is it up to Disney to "smooth ruffled feathers" when it was the student groupe who ruffled them in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Bad PR is bad business. Disney seems to delight in poking themselves in the eye, over and over again.
    You are upset that Disney did the right thing in the legal way, how strange.
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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie View Post
    Being that Disney was one of the first companies to come out and openly support and give benefits to their gay and lesbian employees, I doubt that your words ever entered their minds.
    Interestingly, Disney was among the last companies in the entertainment industry providing these benefits. But, the irony to which I was referring is that the producer, the screenwriter, and the composer of "Sister Act" are all gay.

    The best course of action in some of these cases would be for the company to not just shower people with cease-and-desist letters, but for Disney to, instead, be willing to get a sense of the adaptation and approve or disapprove of it with certain caveats and with a demand for the payment of royalties.

    While policing copyright infringement is a huge challenge, Disney should be able to predict those cases that will gain currency in the news media and attract negative publicity to the company. Plays produced for charity are prime examples. Disney may, then, be able to arrange appropriate licenses that keep everyone happy and that avoid any undue damage to the trademark's goodwill.

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    Re: Disney not amused by students' 'Sister Act' - www.ireland.com/newspaper

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    The organization involved in the production is non-profit and didn't deliberately set out to financially screw over Disney.
    Is it okay then for non-profits to pirate computer software, especially if they have good intentions? Laws are laws regardless of who breaks them.

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