Disney Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Marvel-Kirby dispute is over, but larger copyright issues remain

jack kirbyLaw.com has an interesting follow-up to the surprise settlement last week in the five-year-old legal battle between Marvel and Jack Kirby’s heirs, noting that the larger copyright issue at its center remain unresolved.

The children of the legendary artist filed 45 copyright-termination notices in September 2009, seeking to reclaim what they saw as their father’s stake in such Marvel characters as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. Marvel, joined by its then-new parent company Disney, responded with a lawsuit, setting the dispute down a path that ultimately saw the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirm Kirby’s contributions to the publisher between 1959 and 1963 were “work for hire,” and therefore not subject to copyright termination.

Under a clause in the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act, which extended the duration of copyright, authors or their heirs can reclaim rights transferred before 1978 after a period of 56 years. However, if a work is determined to be “for hire,” meaning it was created by an employee as part of his employment or specially commissioned as part of a larger work, then the publisher (or movie studio, record label, etc.) owns the copyright, and it is not subject to termination.

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Will ‘Disney Infinity’ introduce a new generation to comics?

disney infinity-marvel

With its ambitious sandbox video game Disney Infinity, Disney has hit upon a way to generate sales — to the tune of $500 million worldwide — and to further promote a range of movie properties, ranging from The Pirates of the Caribbean to Frozen to The Incredibles (version 2.0 arrives next week, bringing the Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy into play). But could it also be quietly marketing comic books? Well, at least Marvel comic books?

Introduced in August 2013, Disney Infinity allows players to bring an assortment of characters into the game by purchasing $13 figurines and placing them on a special scanner, and to create their own world within the Disney universe using “Toy Box Mode.”

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Photo of the Day | It’s the Groot pumpkin …

groot pumpkin

A certified pop-culture phenomenon, Groot is seemingly everywhere these days: on the big and small screens, on toy shelves and on T-shirts and backpacks. And now he’s carved onto a pumpkin — one of what will undoubtedly be many by the time Halloween rolls around — at Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch, no less.

The photo comes courtesy of Disney news site Stitch Kingdom, which also has shots of pumpkins featuring Han Solo in carbonite, Scar from The Lion King, the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland and more. Check them out on Instagram.

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And now, the ‘DuckTales’ opening, recreated with actual ducks

duck-tales

It may only be Tuesday, but Disney’s Oh My Disney blog has already won the week by recreating the opening credits of DuckTales using actual ducks. Wearing little hats. Riding in a submarine. And flying in a spaceship. Did I mention the little hats?

A staple of weekday-afternoon television from September 1987 to November 1990, DuckTales followed Scrooge McDuck and his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie who, with pilot Launchpad McQuack, traveled the globe in search of adventure and treasure. Or else, they fought to protect Scrooge’s massive fortune from his enemies.

The theme song, which is undoubtedly already embedded in your brain, was written by Mark Mueller and sung by Jeff Pescetto.

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Deadmau5 fires back, accusing Disney of copyright infringement

deadmau5-publicity

Bristling for a fight with Disney over its bid to prevent him from trademarking his signature mouse-head logo, DJ/producer Deadmau5 has wasted no time in returning fire.

Rolling Stone reports the progressive-house performer is accusing the entertainment giant of using one of his songs in an animated short without permission. Linking to a Disney.com video featuring footage from classic Mickey Mouse cartoons set to the tune of Deadmau5’s 2009 track “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff,” the DJ tweeted, “Okay mouse, I never gave Disney a liscene [sic] to use my track. So. we emailed you a C&D.”

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Marvel’s ‘Big Hero 6′ blackout

BigHero6-JrNovelization

Coming soon (but not from Marvel)

Walt Disney Animation has premiered an adorable two-minute clip from Big Hero 6 that highlights the relationship between young Hiro and his robot Baymax, and has me looking forward to the Nov. 7 release of the film.

Even from the limited glimpses we’ve gotten of them, the characters are already appealing. I sure would be down for reading more stories about them. However, Marvel has no plans to release any comic books in conjunction with the premiere of Big Hero 6 — no reprints of the original stories that inspired from the movie, no new comics … nothing.

As the first Disney animated movie to take advantage of the House of Mouse’s $4 billion purchase of the House of Ideas, you’d think this would be pretty exciting for Marvel, and something it would want to promote. And yet, Marvel is surprisingly quiet about Big Hero 6.

There are no plans to reprint the 1998 original Sunfire & Big Hero 6 miniseries by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vazquez, or the 2006 follow-up Big Hero 6 by Chris Claremont and David Nakayama . Asked about that last week by Comic Book Resources, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso explained, “The characters and stories that have appeared in our comics are very different from what they are in the film. Releasing material that would be viewed as movie tie-in product would be a disservice to filmgoers. We wanted the Disney folks to be able to create their own unique style and story, unencumbered by those older stories.”

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Marvel rolls out ‘Super Hero September’ marketing blitz

marvel super hero september

Marvel has partnered with Disney Consumer Products to kick off “Marvel Super Hero September,” an ambitious national marketing campaign showcasing the company’s characters — and its brand. Marvelkids.com is being relaunched as part of the effort.

Timed to coincide with Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration, the initiative encourages the public to “Power Up Like a Marvel Super Hero,” while spotlighting some of the properties that aren’t heating up the box office at the moment. It’s the first of what’s envisioned as an annual event.

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Disney tries to block Deadmau5 logo trademark

deadmau5

Disney is attempting to prevent DJ/producer Deadmau5 from trademarking his signature mouse-head logo, claiming it’s too similar to the iconic Mickey Mouse silhouette. Signs that the entertainment giant would oppose the application surfaced in late March.

In a staggering 171-page notice of opposition filed Tuesday with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and first reported by TMZ, Disney traces its use of the familiar imagery back to “at least 1928,” with the introduction of Mickey in Steamboat Willie. Disney news site Stitch Kingdom has more details about the filing, in which the company argues the mouse ears have been a key element of its consumer products “at least as early as 1955″ (that’s the year The Mickey Mouse Club premiered on television).

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Funko unveils ‘Big Hero 6′ Pop! Vinyl figures

big hero 6-1

Fans may not be getting any new Big Hero 6 comics from Marvel to go with Disney’s upcoming animated film, but they can get their hands on some pretty adorable Pop! Vinyl figures from Funko.

Available now for preorder, 3.75-inch figures of Hiro Hamada, GoGo Tomago, Honey Lemon, Wasabi No-Ginger and Fred, plus a and a 6-inch Baymax (mech variety) will be released in October, in plenty of time for the film’s Nov. 7 premiere. A “pearlescent” version of Baymax will arrive in late November or early December.

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Comics A.M. | Chinese cartoonist fears returning home

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

Political cartoons | “I think it might be pretty risky to go back home,” says Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who’s on Japan in a business trip and is thinking about staying there. “If I go back, they might use my cartoons as an excuse to detain me.” Liming, whose pen name is Biantai Lajiao (Perverted Chili Pepper), was arrested and briefly detained in 2013 on charges of “rumor-mongering,” stemming from a post on the microblog site Weibo. This time, an anonymous commenter on a state-owned discussion board called Liming a “traitor” because of a cartoon he posted online that showed mainland Chinese being sent to Hong Kong to oppose the Occupy Central pro-democracy campaign and demonstrate how to kowtow to the government. “That post is written like something out of the Cultural Revolution,” Liming said, calling it a “smear campaign.” He has 500,000 followers on Weibo and another 340,000 on Sina Weibo, and he says he is losing income because his accounts have been shut down. [Radio Free Asia]

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Guardians of the Galaxy dance their way into Walt Disney World

guardians-movie-soundtrack

The Guardians of the Galaxy are on their way to Walt Disney World in Florida, and they’re coming to dance.

According to the Disney Parks blog, a Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party is being planned as part of a “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Aug. 23. Per the post, guests can dance to the film’s best-selling soundtrack — at least until Star-Lord and Gamora show up to retrieve the tape.

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Tickets are already on sale for D23 Expo 2015

d23 expo

If it seems far too soon, and far too exhausting, to start planning for Comic-Con International 2015 (it’s just330 days away) then think about this: Early-bird tickets went on sale Thursday for D23 Expo 2015, scheduled for about a month after the San Diego convention.

Billed as the Ultimate Disney Fan Event, it will be held Aug. 14-16, 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, across the street from Disneyland. It brings together elements of Disney, Pixar, ABC, Lucasfilm and Marvel under one (figurative) tent.

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This fan-made Dancing Baby Groot is all you want, all you need

baby-groot

Disney Consumer Products struck deals with more than 50 companies for Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise, ensuring store shelves are stocked with everything from a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Figure to the LEGO Milano Spaceship Rescue Building Set to the Rocket Raccoon Suit-Up Backpack.

But somehow, nobody thought to license — spoiler alert? — a dancing Baby Groot.

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Comics A.M. | Disney layoffs hit DisneyToon Studios

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Business | Marvel parent company Disney has reportedly laid off as many as 17 of the 60 full-time employees at DisneyToon Studio, the Glendale, California-based division that produces animated direct-to-video sequels and prequels, such as The Lion King 1 1/2 and Mulan II, the Disney Fairies releases and the occasional feature film, most recently Planes: Fire & Rescue. While Disney has been cutting positions throughout the company for the past few years — dating back to 2011 with the elimination of 200 jobs in its interactive division and about a dozen at Marvel — Variety chalks up these layoffs to the declining home-video market. [Variety, Deadline]

Passings | Dan Lynch, former editorial cartoonist for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, died Sunday at age 67. Lynch also worked for the Kansas City Times, and his cartoons were syndicated nationally and appeared in Time and Newsweek. However, his career was cut short by a debilitating stroke in 2001. “Dan had (what I thought was) a fabulous drawing style,” said Julie Inskeep, publisher and president of The Journal Gazette. “And, in the 20-plus years he worked at the JG, he provided a vast array of cartoon topics – always welcome, though not always in agreement with our editorial board. But he got people to think and react in his special and powerful way.” [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

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Man sentenced for insider trading in Disney-Marvel deal

disney-marvel-logoA San Francisco man was sentenced Thursday to three months in federal prison and ordered to pay $122,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to using insider information to make big bucks in Disney’s purchase of Marvel.

Law360 reports that in 2009, Toby G. Scammell was told by his girlfriend, a Disney extern working on the Marvel acquisition, that the entertainment giant was planning to buy a company “people would recognize right away.” Using her work schedule and their vacation plans, he was able to deduce when the deal would likely close, and learned from his then-employer — a consulting firm that had been contracted by Disney on occasion — that the company was interested in Marvel.

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