Fleegull

Disney Attempts to Trademark Princess Aurora

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According to Nikki Finke, Disney is attempting to trademark the name 'Princess Aurora'. If successful, it would control all future performances of the ballet.

You can read more here.

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Good grief! :( I hope Disney is slapped down..... cubanmiamiboy... :lol:

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I hope so, too! This is ridiculous!

-d-

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It's very interesting to read the responses to this article, in terms of legal precedent and in the general understanding of 'ownership'

I found this comment pretty dispiriting

I might be missing something, but I don’t see how trademarking a character NAME would yield all the mentioned results. Disney isn’t trying to claim ownership over the story, just the name (although I don’t agree with that either).

The way I see it, the ballets and movies, etc., can go on, just change the name of the character. No?

but took heart from this

In the original Russian score, the name is Avrora, not Aurora. The ballet should be safe :(

Comment by Peter Ilyich

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Thanks for the link, Fleegull. Let's hope the trademark Nazis over at Disney have finally overstepped with this one.

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I think Disney may back down due to "prior art" issues and the fact they could face some really unhappy ballet fans in Russia! :angry2:

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What month is this? The article reads like an April Fool's Day story. If anyone here is familar with copyright law, perhaps you can explain by what legal logic Disney thinks it has a right to do this.

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If anyone here is familar with copyright law, perhaps you can explain by what legal logic Disney thinks it has a right to do this.
The technical legal term, I believe (non-lawyer speaking here), is "chutzpah."

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carbro:

The technical legal term, I believe (non-lawyer speaking here), is "chutzpah."

:angry2: Very good!

Yeah, I suppose they just want to see if they can get away with it; pad their pockets yet some more... :dry:

-d-

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Disney can't copyright the name entirely as a concept because it clearly exists in the public domain. What they are doing is copyrighting the image associated with their Aurora from their 1959 film version. If you follow the links from the original article you can find the application from Disney to the patent office...and it says..

International Class 041: Entertainment and education services.

Intent to Use: The applicant has a bona fide intention to use or use through the applicant's related company or licensee the mark in commerce on or in connection with the identified goods and/or services. (15 U.S.C. Section 1051(b)).

The identified goods and/or services would be Disney's rendering of the princess and the mark would be Disney's name association with it.

It only matters to Disney because they make countless millions of little plastic dolls and ornaments and lunch boxes and anything else they can dream of making a quick buck on that will have Aurora's image on it. And they have to guard against reproduction.

Disney doesn't care about the ballets unless you specifically made your ballerina look like their version of her.

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Many thanks, jllaney!

I don't think ballet companies will have a problem, as long as they stay away from ballerinas with slightly olive-tinted tan hair, worn loose.

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Yes, thanks a lot, jllaney. I'm glad you understand this better than that blogger does.

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It only matters to Disney because they make countless millions of little plastic dolls and ornaments and lunch boxes and anything else they can dream of making a quick buck on that will have Aurora's image on it. And they have to guard against reproduction.

I agree; Disney is only trying to protect the image. I remember reading a few years ago that Walt Disney considered using the name from the Grimm version of the tale (Briar Rose), and a new score for the cartoon movie. He settled in his mind that there was a celebrated score already in existence, and (happily) he decided to use it. He also might have noticed the popularity of the name 'Princess Aurora' from the frequent Sadlers Wells/Royal Ballet U.S. tours starting from 1949. It seems that he didn't want to go against the familiar. MO.

Disney doesn't care about the ballets unless you specifically made your ballerina look like their version of her.

:): The cartoon movie's "double" is the Maryinsky's Somova; there's a very strong resemblance.

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The identified goods and/or services would be Disney's rendering of the princess and the mark would be Disney's name association with it.

It only matters to Disney because they make countless millions of little plastic dolls and ornaments and lunch boxes and anything else they can dream of making a quick buck on that will have Aurora's image on it. And they have to guard against reproduction.

Fair enough, but Disney didn’t create the character, the name, or anything apart from that one particular image of Aurora, and they appear to be trying to copyright the name.

Production, presentation and distribution, and rental of motion picture films; production, presentation and distribution of television and radio programs; production and presentation of sound and video recordings; production of live entertainment shows and interactive programs for use in the following media, namely, television, cable, satellite, audio and video media, video cartridges, laser discs, computer discs and by electronic means; production and provision of entertainment, namely, news, and information relating to the entertainment industry in general via communication and computer networks; providing entertainment services via a global communication network in the nature of online games and websites featuring a wide variety of general interest entertainment information relating to motion picture films, television show programs, musical videos, related film clips, photographs, and other multimedia materials; amusement park and theme park services; production of live stage shows; presentation of live show performances; theater productions; and entertainer services in the nature of live, television and movie appearances by a professional entertainer.
Disney doesn't care about the ballets unless you specifically made your ballerina look like their version of her.

It can be very hard to say in advance what Disney’s lawyers will or will not care about. The foregoing list is pretty wide-ranging.

I would also think that their trademark on the character as they’ve designed her is already on the books or should be??

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:ermm:: The cartoon movie's "double" is the Maryinsky's Somova; there's a very strong resemblance.

I hardly think Disney can sue someone for looking like herself (Somova really does look like cartoon Aurora, but I like cartoon Aurora better). Then again, I don't know...there are some awfully silly claims out there made by silly corporate lawyers, one in particular that I'm thinking of is American Apparel defending its unauthorized use of Woody Allen's image, making the case that his image is too damaged to be worth anything. :) Talk about chutzpah.

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Thanks, jilaney, for your information.

The identified goods and/or services would be Disney's rendering of the princess and the mark would be Disney's name association with it

This does seem to be fairly narrow as copyright restrictions go, unless I'm missing something. I'm not sure I see a big problem, other than the obscene amount of time which material remains in copyright under the Sonny Bono (a.k.a. Mickey Mouse) Act.

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This does seem to be fairly narrow as copyright restrictions go, unless I'm missing something. I'm not sure I see a big problem, other than the obsene amount of time which material remains in copyright nowadays.

I’m no expert, but as one of the commenters notes, if they were seeking a copyright on the name “Disney’s Princess Aurora” or something along those lines it would indeed be narrow enough. But “Princess Aurora” alone seems unnecessarily broad and potentially troublesome, especially since Disney plucked name, character, and story out of the public domain in the first place.

The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which contributed to those obscene amounts of time, earned the sobriquet of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, owing to the hyper-aggressive lobbying efforts of Disney in getting it passed.

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bart, it looks as if you edited your post to add a reference to the 1998 Act - I was responding to the first post. Sorry for any confusion.

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I’m no expert, but as one of the commenters notes, if they were seeking a copyright on the name “Disney’s Princess Aurora” or something along those lines it would indeed be narrow enough. But “Princess Aurora” alone seems unnecessarily broad and potentially troublesome, especially since Disney plucked name, character, and story out of the public domain in the first place.

I just want to clarify something. Disney has filed a trademark application on Princess Aurora. That is very different from registering a copyright.

A trademark is a mark which indicates a person/entity's products or services. For example, "Google," "Porsche," "Duncan-Hines" are all word marks. There are also symbol marks such as Mercedes-Benz' star within a circle or Disney's Sleeping Beauty's castle symbol. For performers, a name can also be a mark. For example when Ben & Jerry's released the ice cream flavor "Cherry Garcia," they received a very nice Cease and Desist letter from Mr. Jerry Garcia's attorneys (obviously, this was settled).

Almost all corporations (not just Disney) are insanely protective of their marks for many reasons, among them that if they do not guard their marks it may weaken the mark and they could eventually lose the mark altogether. (For example. if you started a website with a url of ILovePorsches.com just see how long it takes you to get a C&D letter from their trademark counsel).

A copyright is a protection of expressed work. In the United States, registration is not required for a work to be copyrighted (for example, as soon as I am done with this post, it will be considered copyrighted). There may be some overlap between trademark and copyright, but they are not the same thing (for example, drawings of Mickey Mouse would be copyrighted, but "Mickey Mouse" is also a mark of the Disney Corporation.

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Thank you for the clarification. :rofl:

So... what does that mean for anyone in a future time staging a ballet about sleeping beauty, when disney supposedly has this trademark on "princess aurora"?

-d-

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as far as i can tell (and someone correct me if i am wrong), nothing unless they attempt to call a character in sleeping beauty "Disney's Princess Aurora" or some other such construct.

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So... what does that mean for anyone in a future time staging a ballet about sleeping beauty, when disney supposedly has this trademark on "princess aurora"?

This is not my area of expertise and this does not constitute legal advice, but in very general terms, I doubt there would be much of an issue unless there is "likelihood of confusion" that the Princess Aurora is a Disney product, Disney-endorsed or otherwise connected with Disney's Princess Aurora. As I mentioned upthread, trademarks mark a company's product or services. If there is no or minimal likelihood of confusion, there shouldn't be an issue.

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