PDA

View Full Version : Disney goin back to court over sequal?


BRERALEX
10-16-2003, 10:38 AM
BBC NEWS

Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK


Disney accused of 'evil bulldozer' slur


Disney claims the film is harmless fun
Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar has seen red over a new Disney film which it claims portrays its earthmovers as "evil".
The US engineering giant is attempting to block the release of George of the Jungle 2, claiming the film will damage its reputation.

The company claims the straight-to-video slapstick comedy portrays Caterpillar earthmovers as part of an "evil attacking army" bent on destroying the jungle.

But Disney - which has vowed to fight Caterpillar's trademark infringement law suit - claims the offending scenes are harmless fun.

The film centres on George, an accident-prone Tarzan figure, and his attempts to save the jungle from scheming industrialists.

Caterpillar objects to the final battle sequence, which pits George and his computer-animated animal friends against an army of Caterpillar Wheel Loaders that a narrator calls "bulldozing bullies".


Caterpillar claims its machines are portrayed as 'evil'
The Caterpillar name and corporate logo are featured clearly throughout.

The company claims the scenes will have a negative effect on children and could affect Caterpillar's line of children's products.

A Disney statement said: "While we have great respect for Caterpillar, we consider this without legal merit and we expect the audience will view these sequences for their comedic value and not take them seriously."

The lawsuit asks a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to block the scheduled release of the film.

It also seeks an order that Disney destroy all offending material.

A Disney spokesman said the film has already been released outside the United States.

No court date has been set.

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 10:45 AM
I guess Disney should sue Fox everytime the Simpson's say something less then flattering about Disney.

HB2K
10-16-2003, 10:46 AM
I'd love to see someone make a movie where Mickey Mouse, while referred to in the dialog of the film as "the evil rodent who wants to run the world", is the evil enemy....

Let's see how Disney would react to that one.

Hypocrits.

HB2K
10-16-2003, 10:49 AM
Viking,

The difference between the Simpson's satirical jabs and what Disney is doing is simple.

The Catapiller logo is apparently in PLAIN sight for all to see....thus the little ones will associate the logo with the bad guys from George of the Jungle.

Why they just didn't airbrush the logos out is what I don't get....why is Disney so hell bent on having the logos appear in the film?

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 10:49 AM
What has Disney done that's hypocritical ? Has your hypothetical situation occurred, or are they just hypocritical in your opinion because they MIGHT act this way ?

HB2K
10-16-2003, 10:52 AM
The fact that Disney has forced day care establishments to remove IMAGES of their characters from walls, yet feels they should be free to paint another company with whatever paint they feel is hypocritical.

And do I think they'd act as Catapiller is if the roles were reversed?

You're god d***ed right I do.

Baileymouse
10-16-2003, 10:52 AM
Umm, people do. Didja see Dogma? Mooby is a combination of Disney and McDonalds.

Some comic strips have made fun of Disney for years. It goes with the territory.

KNWVIKING is right - the Simpsons poke fun at Disney all the time. The episode where they go to an amusement park (Itchy & Scratchy land) shows Homer buying something like Disney Dollars, only to find that they are not accepted at the parks, and the audioanimatronics run wild. The animatronics are all mice!

By ignoring it, it goes away and people laugh. By making an issue out of it, publicity ensues.

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 10:54 AM
Television & movies are full of logos and actual products- have been for years. At least in the movie the child needs to see the logo and understand its relevance. For children, Disney is much better known then Caterpillar earth moving equipment. The Simpsons don't hesitate to throw the Disney name around negatively. Kids don't have to look for it, they hear it. If Disney were hypocrites they'd be suring Fox.

HB2K
10-16-2003, 10:59 AM
But you don't see Walt's face or trademarked signaure on the bills Homer buys.

You don't see Mickey Mouse as the audio animatronic running wild.

Catapiller's main beef as I understand it from the article is that THEIR LOGO is on the villanous machines. I don't think Catapiller is petitioning Disney to change the villan from bulldozers to cartoons....they are trying to protect their company's image.

Why does the catapiller logo have to be there?

HB2K
10-16-2003, 11:02 AM
The Simpsons don't hesitate to throw the Disney name around negatively. Kids don't have to look for it, they hear it. If Disney were hypocrites they'd be suring Fox.

A) While I don't watch the show religiously, I've never heard the Simpsons refer to the Disney company by name, nor have I ever seen the company's logo on the show. The content isn't the issue here....it's the unwilling placement of another company's logo.

B) Most shows take great pains to avoid displaying a company's logo on ANY props used in filming...unless they're paid to display them via a sponsorship agreement (The whole E.T. situation comes to mind).

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 11:05 AM
How come Coke doesn't sue Pepsi when a Pepsi commercial "shows up" Coke products ? Or how about Ford sueing over GMC's latest commercial with the Ford F150 trying to keep up with the GMC Sierra ?

Caterpillar will get a ton of free advertising mileage out of this. They should be thanking Disney, not sueing them.

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 11:08 AM
***"A) While I don't watch the show religiously, I've never heard the Simpsons refer to the Disney company by name, "***

They have said "Disney" and Disney World more then once. I believe they have also said Disneyland. If my DS were on-line I would ask him....he would tell me the episode number, what charactor said it, and in what context it was meant :-)

HB2K
10-16-2003, 12:06 PM
Caterpillar will get a ton of free advertising mileage out of this. They should be thanking Disney, not sueing them.
Oh yeah they should thank someone for making lots of little kids think their logo is synonomus with evil and the villans.

Thanks Disney!

They have said "Disney" and Disney World more then once. I believe they have also said Disneyland. If my DS were on-line I would ask him....he would tell me the episode number, what charactor said it, and in what context it was meant :-)
As I said, I don't regularly watch the show so I will readily admit I could be wrong. I'd like to know what context the company Disney company was portrayed as....a single line snide joke or the full fledged villan of one episode?

DemoBri1
10-16-2003, 12:32 PM
I can tell you one thing...If Caterpillar wins this (which I don't believe they will) it is going to set-up some interesting legal precedents that could turn the advertising and movie-making industry upside down.

Just think of the ramifications that may result, GM can't show a Ford truck being beaten up by a Chevy Silverado w/o airbrushing the Ford logos out or referring to a Ford F150. Those cool Coke vs. Pepsi commercials will now be Coke vs. Cola X, or Pepsi vs. Cola Y.

This just proves how litigous our society has become.

jlambrig
10-16-2003, 01:00 PM
This has in part to do with the protection offered by the law with regard to satire. I am not even going to try and pretend I know all of the intricacies involved but this is a very salient point.

Kevin Smith used Mooby because he was paranoid about what would happen if he actually used Disney and or McDonald's. And rightfully so, they would have sued him to try and keep the film from being released. It was thinly disguised but unless someone actually introduces known falsehoods, their is protection by the law when satire is involved.

And yes the Simpsons have referred to Disney multiple times even originated a show from WDW. Apparently, Duff World has a vacuum cleaner problem that interfers with the Last Call music so they decided to try something different.

I don't think Cat has a leg to stand on here. Remember, bulldoers don't destroy the jungle, people do.

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 01:10 PM
***"Oh yeah they should thank someone for making lots of little kids think their logo is synonomus with evil and the villans."***

Ok, be honest HB2K, do you really think the kids that watch GotJ2 will ever associated Caterpiller as evil ? Do you believe Cat will lose income,market share or prestige because of this video ? Or is Cat just looking for a headline ?

Besides, how many kids would think the evil 'dozers are "Kewl" ? If Cat were smart they'd find a way to put their toy trucks on the same shelf as the video.

Another Voice
10-16-2003, 01:17 PM
The laws about this are pretty clear.

A company's trademark and logos are owned by the company. They can not be used without the company's agreement.

When you show a company's marks in a movie, you have to get permission. If you're shooting on a public street, you have to get McDonalds to sign off if you just happen to see one of their burger stands down the street. There are a lot of people in town whose job is get these clearances and whole fleets of lawyers as well. And when the clearances don't come through, there are a herd of stagehands to paint over logos and CGI artists to blur out faces and signs. Watch any reality show and you're likely to see logos on clothing blurred out (because it's cheaper than getting permission) unless they happen to be a sponsor for the show.

There's another whole industry that deals with product placements where pay to get their products on screen. So when the '8 Simple Rules' family heads out for their Magical Gathering® at WDW, you'll be sure to see plenty of glowing references to their magical® DELTA AIRLINES flight.

But you ever notice that when the plane crashes that's it's ALWAYS a made-up airline you never of heard of?

It's because companies don't want their products shown in a negative light. They own the rights to the name and their marks, and they can decide how to use them. Just because some writer at 'JAG' needed a cool action scene where a plane blows up doesn't give them the right to take someone else's property (the Delta Airlines logos) and uses them for a dramatic purpose. And if they that did happen, I'm sure someone at Delta Airlines would rather upset at how their product is being represented.

That seems to have happened here. Someone either failed to get the required clearances from CAT for the use of their logos or someone forgot to paint over them while they were filming. Obviously, CAT doesn't want their product associated with the villains and it's their right to prevent other people from profiting from their trademarks. Yes, perhaps CAT is over reacting a bit - but someone at Disney clearly failed at one of the most routine and common aspects at studio movie making.*

There are two exceptions to the "my marks are my property" laws. The first is parody. This has been time and time again that "public figures" are fair game within the limits of slander and liable - it goes back to the First Amendment and why you can make fun of Hillary Clinton or George Bush and not get sued.

The same holds for companies, but only for their "public image" - it does not go for owned property like characters and trademarks. Watch 'The Simpsons' - they can talk about Disney all they want and create a parody of the castle - but they can't actualy have Mickey Mouse hitting Bart. It's also why 'C.S.I.: Miami' can't just show up one day with their cameras and film an episode about carnage at Dino-Rama.

The other exception is commercial speech (as in trying to sell my products) which, as Nike just found out, has fewer protections than other forms. That tends to be regulated and the latest FCC rules seem to make it easier for you to say "my product is better than that guys" and be able to show "that guy's" product. For a long time it wasn't allowd, which is why ever soap worked better than Brand X. Some of the more recent commercials (like Pepsi/Coke) seem to really be pushing the edge on this. A lawsuit is bound to happen sooner or later.


* - as a side note, the courts have also ruled that if brands are used long enough in "general speech" that a company can use the brand name. Read through any trade publication for writing and you'll see ads from people like Kleenex yelling at people to use words like "tissue" instead of Kleenex. I remember seeing several from CAT asking people to use "tractor" instead of "Caterpillar". They already have a sensitivity to the issue.

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 01:37 PM
***"That seems to have happened here. Someone either failed to get the required clearances from CAT for the use of their logos or someone forgot to paint over them while they were filming. "***

That's one heckuva oversite. We're not talking about an innocent Coke can sitting on a table. You would think that someone in the legal dept would have addressed this issue long before the first DVD was ever produced.

HB2K
10-16-2003, 02:00 PM
***"Oh yeah they should thank someone for making lots of little kids think their logo is synonomus with evil and the villans."***

Ok, be honest HB2K, do you really think the kids that watch GotJ2 will ever associated Caterpiller as evil ? Do you believe Cat will lose income,market share or prestige because of this video ? Or is Cat just looking for a headline ?

Besides, how many kids would think the evil 'dozers are "Kewl" ? If Cat were smart they'd find a way to put their toy trucks on the same shelf as the video.

OK So now you're changing your arguement that Disney is in the wrong on this, and CAT should be happy Disney is using their trademarks as Disney sees fit?

Puleeze.

That's one heckuva oversite. We're not talking about an innocent Coke can sitting on a table. You would think that someone in the legal dept would have addressed this issue long before the first DVD was ever produced.
Which is what I said earlier....why did Disney leave the logos there unless:

A) They are trying to cash in on CAT's recognition
B) Someone was asleep at the wheel

Another Voice
10-16-2003, 02:01 PM
Yes, it rather is. Next time you see it one TV, watch how carefully the actor holds that "innocent" can of branded soft drink so the logo does not appear (unless it's a paid placement).

All of the studios are extremely picky about this. It is impossible to even mention the name of a product without some lawyer getting in a fuss. It's even to the point where character names have to be reasearched: if a script calls for an evil doctor someone will check to see that there are no real doctors with a similar name in a similar town or city.

My only guess (I haven't seen this movie) is that someone thought that Caterpiller was generic enough so that no one would notice. Just like you can get by with using real cars as long as no one says anything bad about them, I'm sure someone thought "they're just tractors, no one will mind".

Another twist that I just remembered is that CAT is a sponsor at California Adventure. They have some big equipment parked in the Farm area-ette for the kids to climb on. Here's the link on Disneyland's website (http://disneyland.disney.go.com/dlr/detail/attraction?id=BountifulValleyFarmAttractionPage) which includes "Tip: Feel free to climb on the Caterpillar Tractors."

HB2K
10-16-2003, 02:49 PM
Another twist that I just remembered is that CAT is a sponsor at California Adventure. They have some big equipment parked in the Farm area-ette for the kids to climb on.

Now that is the funniest thing I've heard all day....

KNWVIKING
10-16-2003, 03:08 PM
***"OK So now you're changing your arguement that Disney is in the wrong on this, and CAT should be happy Disney is using their trademarks as Disney sees fit?"***

I'm not changing anything,you're just avoiding the question I asked you. You claimed Disney were hypocrites- you still haven't shown me where they were hypocritical.

I'm not saying Disney is right or wrong about this, I just personally believe Caterpillar is looking for a little free publicity on this because IMO their brand or reputation is not being affected negatively.

But I'll ask you again: ..........., do you really think the kids that watch GotJ2 will ever associated Caterpiller as evil ? Do you believe Cat will lose income,market share or prestige because of this video ? Or is Cat just looking for a headline ?

Another Voice
10-16-2003, 03:56 PM
I see this as CAT worrying about their corporate image and that of their industry in general. Instead of their products being seen as big-happy-fun-time-trucks, they've being presented as captailist-tools-destroying-diversity-hugging-good-guys. It's not an issue where thousands of kids all across Iowa are going to demand that their parents buy only John Deere equipment. They are in their rights to due so and they felt - for whatever reason - that a lawsuit is the only way to get Disney to notice.

At the same time this is not some big scheme by Disney to profit from the free use of yellow trucks. Someone was either asleep at the wheel or just plain didn't care enough to watch what they were doing. It doesn't really matter if CAT doesn't suffer a loss of market share - Disney did something wrong and it's not their call to decide that CAT is "not being affected negatively". It would be exactly the same situation if a cop on 'Law and Order' said "that serial killer loved Treasure Planet and watched it all the time...no wonder".

Usually something like this is taken care of with a few phone calls between suits in the company involved; I can only guess why there's a lawsuit here.

Sarangel
10-16-2003, 07:52 PM
This is all very interesting, but I must ask you (collectively) to moderate your language. I've had to edit several posts that had inappropriate language in them. Kindly remember that there are children that read this board, and that we have a prohibition against most standard explatives.

Sarangel

HB2K
10-16-2003, 10:31 PM
I'm not changing anything,you're just avoiding the question I asked you. You claimed Disney were hypocrites- you still haven't shown me where they were hypocritical.

I'm not saying Disney is right or wrong about this, I just personally believe Caterpillar is looking for a little free publicity on this because IMO their brand or reputation is not being affected negatively.

So CAT has no right to be upset that their company logo and brand name are being used by another company without their permission....and then they shouldn't care that their company logo is slapped on the "villans" of this movie like a NASCAR advertisement?

I don't know about you but I wouldn't want my product associated with the bad guys....and I do think it can negativly impact CAT's image....unless you're taking the stance that noone's going to bother to see the movie...

So let me get this straight....you don't see anything wrong with Disney hijacking another company's brand name and making them the villan of a movie, without said company's permission (or compensating them)? And further you think suing Disney to protect your trademarked logos & good will is nothing but a publicity grab?

Sorry but some companys apparently do_care what the public thinks of their brand. Only a select few could care less....

Care to guess who falls where in this dispute?

DancingBear
10-17-2003, 07:03 AM
Whenever I read this thread, I can't stop thinking about the South Park episode where the kids are in a singing group that visits the rainforest as part of a "Save the Rainforest" campaign, but they end up hating the rainforest and being rescued by the guys with the bulldozers.:p

Believe or not, I'm with A-V on this one.

KNWVIKING
10-17-2003, 08:35 AM
***"I don't know about you but I wouldn't want my product associated with the bad guys....and I do think it can negativly impact CAT's image...."***

Then we'll just have to disagree on this one. I don't think kids or any one of the BILLIONS of people who see this movie will care in the least that the 'dozers said CAT on them. Just as a side note... any time you see a big yellow earth mover lumbering down the highway or working in a field, what brand name pops into your head ? Is it Kaboto ? Deere ? Case ? Or just maybe everyone thinks CAT.

As for Villians: Hmmmm.... well, Kobe shirts are the #1 seller since he became a "villian".

Disney makes a lot of money selling Villians.

We're all hoping for the Villian theme park at WDW.

The Oakland Raiders fame comes from their bad boy, villian image.

In the world of the legal suits I'm sure Disney screwed up on this one. But IMO it was unintentional and in no way were they trying to cash in on Cat's brand name. I think Cat is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Planogirl
10-17-2003, 09:17 AM
I don't think that it matters if people will or won't care if the name Caterpillar is on the 'dozers or not. It's up to Caterpillar to decide how their logo is used and if they don't want to be featured in this movie, it's their call. I don't know what Cat's track record on environmental issues is but if they're sensitive about such things, I can understand their concern.

Disney messed up, plain and simple in my opinion.

Tinks
10-17-2003, 10:10 AM
Believe me when I say I know of what I speak...the Disney sequel not only portrays CAT as the villian...it also shows George and his computer generated animal friends throwing animal feces directly at the CAT logo. CAT is NOT happy about this. As a large corporation, CAT is diversified. It also sells apparel for adults and children ( and toys for children!). While I'm sure millions of kids won't protest wearing CAT logo after watching the movie, there still remains the potential for substantial revenue loss on the part of CAT. Another Voice explained things very well. Someone at Disney was asleep at the wheel and CAT has a very good case. The reason Disney is balking at changing it is they already released the DVD to the distributors and it will cost them 1.1 million to recall the DVDs. Further, in the sequel, there are frequent jokes about "product placement." One scene has an elephant wearing New Balance shoes with the narrator asking viewers to guess what product is being displayed. Such jokes can make viewers think CAT approved the way it's equipment was used in the movie. It will be interesting to see what happens in this case. I say GO CAT!

HB2K
10-17-2003, 10:13 AM
As for Villians: Hmmmm.... well, Kobe shirts are the #1 seller since he became a "villian".

Disney makes a lot of money selling Villians.

We're all hoping for the Villian theme park at WDW.

The Oakland Raiders fame comes from their bad boy, villian image.

So if it's good for everyone else, then CAT should be happy Disney did it for them right? If CAT wanted the bad boy image, don't you think they would have advertised themselves that way?

My problem with this Disney deciding they can portray another company's brand name however they see fit...yet Disney is ferociously protective of THEIR trademarks to the point that they forced a preschool to remove their characters from the walls of the class rooms.

That's hypocritical to me.