Thursday, January 24, 2013

Escape from Tomorrow

Randy Moore, an independent filmmaker, has shot a B&W movie portraying WDW as a dark and terrifying place.  The film recently opened at the Sundance Film Festival.  This article in the New Yorker gives a pretty good description of the movie and the possible legal issues.  Seems that the film was secretly shot inside WDW and, according to some reports, the crew's activities were almost discovered by Disney Security.  The film crew apparently freely violated the terms of use of the park tickets.  But, to begin with, here's a quick plot summary...
A typical American family is on vacation at Disney World, when the father, Jim, finds out that he has been fired. Jim begins to act strangely, and his perception of their day at the park becomes twisted and scary. Aided by the use of black-and-white film, the familiar Magic Kingdom is transformed into something abjectly terrifying, as friendly icons morph into monstrous forms.
The lead character(Jim) begins to lose his sanity in the It's a Small, Small World attraction ( perfectly understandable, but most of us recover), and things really get bizarre on Spaceship Earth.

Aside from charging the film crew with trespassing, Disney may or may not have much of a case in regards to the movie itself...
...But the underlying assumption of that question—that Disney has a good trademark or copyright case—is wrong. Though the filmmakers may have committed trespass when they broke Disney World’s rules and if it violated the terms of entry on their tickets, the film itself is a different matter. As commentary on the social ideals of Disney World, it seems to clearly fall within a well-recognized category of fair use, and therefore probably will not be stopped by a court using copyright or trademark laws.
 This is not a case about counterfeit Mickey Mouse watches or bootlegged “Toy Story” DVDs. Disney is free to stop that sort of thing all it likes. But a judge has to think about the First Amendment when asked to ban art work.
We will undoubtedly be hearing more about this film and the possible legal developments.

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