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Old November 1st, 2011, 11:09 PM   #1: [Thread] [Post]
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Does Disney Own the Rights to Snow White etc...

I've always thought no. There's no way they could own the rights to characters that originated hundreds of years ago, and without any known specific origin.

But after watching that new show on ABC "Once Upon a Time" I kind of wondered. In an interview (HERE) a producer of the show said
Quote:
"Disney, which is producing the show, has been open to producers' reinterpretations of classic fairy-tale characters. "They've given us license," Kitnis said. "I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time anyone's shown Snow White with a sword, or pregnant."
.

I get that Disney owns ABC, but throw that out the window for a moment. The producers of the show technically wouldn't need to get permission from Disney to use any characters from any fairy tale since they're public domain, right?

I tried looking some stuff up, but couldn't really find solid answers. Some things were said to be public domain such as the character Snow White, but that Disney also owns some specifics about various fairy tales. Such as the names of the seven dwarfs.

Even though they can't own whats public domain just the fact that they try kinda pisses me off. Makes me want to go paint a Disney princess mural on my wall and just give them all different hair colors from the films.
 
 

 
Old November 2nd, 2011, 04:17 AM   #2: [Thread] [Post]
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I'd have assumed that it was public domain, personally. Like Mozart's music. Nobody owns it.
 
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 06:23 AM   #3: [Thread] [Post]
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the ones that Disney Company created are owned by them but the original are public domain.
 
 

 
Old November 2nd, 2011, 08:03 AM   #4: [Thread] [Post]
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Since they are public domain why would ABC need to get permission from its parent company to use a character? Seems kind of pointless.
 
 

 
Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:32 AM   #5: [Thread] [Post]
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Maybe it was a character that Disney created?
 
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:36 AM   #6: [Thread] [Post]
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Even if it's public domain, they might just be trying to avoid legal issues. Disney may own ABC (I don't really know if they do or not, nor I don't particularly care), but I'm pretty sure they could still sue them on the basis infringement. One reason they might do it is to make it very clear to EVERY company that it doesn't matter who uses Disney intellectual properties, they must go through Disney for rights to reproduce them in any way.

I'm not a legal expert, but with the broken legal system in this country, it's probably something that might stand a chance in court.
 
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 11:33 AM   #7: [Thread] [Post]
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Lights View Post
Maybe it was a character that Disney created?
I was under the impression they were referring to characters that have existed for hundreds of years. The ones that are public domain. They even talked about portraying snow white in a certain way as if disney had a legal say in it.
 
 

 
Old November 2nd, 2011, 04:27 PM   #8: [Thread] [Post]
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The Walt Disney company owns ESPN, ABC, Pixar Marvel Comics and a bunch of other stuff.

As far as this specific issue goes, I'd say two things about it

1. Disney owns the rights to the Disney versions of the classic characters you see like Snow White and Cinderella. Other versions of these characters are public domain, but Disney could sue for copyright infringement if somebody else tried to portray them in a way that's similar to the way Disney does. If disney didn't own the show and they tried to use a version of Snow White that's a knock-off of the Disney version, then Disney could sue. If they did something totally different and original with the character, Disney would have no say.

2. It applies more here because Disney produces the show and because the show runs on a Disney network. Disney doesn't have a legal say on how the characters are used so long as their license isn't violated, but they still have the final say based on the fact that they could just cancel the show or deny the licensing if they want to. Essentially, they aren't going to allow the creator's of the show to use a version of say Snow White if they feel that it will hurt the brand of the original classic Snow White that you see in Disney's adaptation. Disney granting license seems either precautionary or it means that so far they've approved whatever the show is doing.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 12:54 PM   #9: [Thread] [Post]
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I don't think "license" is being used in the way you think. I believe he's saying that they've been given leeway by Disney in how they interpret the characters, e.g., Kitnis' knocked up, barbarian Snow White is a pretty big leap from Disney's take on her.
 
 

 
Old November 6th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #10: [Thread] [Post]
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I think there was something like that in the simpsons, lisa tells tale of snow white, the lawyer shows up and says it belongs to disney but she corrects him. The dwarves on the other hand are an original re-creation by disney
 
 

 
Old November 6th, 2011, 06:39 PM   #11: [Thread] [Post]
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Like Whale said, Disney owns all kinds of stuff.

But if you go look at The Tenth Kingdom (which I believe was produced by people outside of Disney), they take all the classic Disney tales and change them a little for the basis of the miniseries. You know exactly who they're talking about, but they Disney cant do anything about it since they werent using the Disney versions.
 
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