Standards of Business Conduct – Legal Standards

Regarding an earlier post titled #DisneyMustPay, PG conducted a Google Search as follows:

disney purchase rights without obligations

The eighth item that appeared in the Google search results was the following:

standards of business conduct – The Walt Disney Company

Clicking this Google link lead PG to the following:

https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/app/uploads/Standards-of-Business-Conduct-Legal-Standards.pdf

As indicated by the link, the document was a PDF with a header appeared to be something like a letterhead without any address that said “The Walt Disney Company” with the “Walt Disney” portion of the header depicted with the font that appeared to PG to be that of the well-known Disney trademark.

Document was titled:

STANDARDS OF BUSINESS CONDUCT –
LEGAL STANDARDS

As PG glanced through the document, he saw sections headed with Antitrust Laws, Securities Laws, etc.

One section in particular caught his eye. It was titled, Intellectual Property.

Here is an excerpt from that section:

I. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

I. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The federal copyright laws have rules governing the use of books, movies, records, and other works.

The United States Copyright Act protects original “works of authorship fixed in any
tangible medium of expression.” The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce the work, to create derivative works, to distribute copies to the public, and
to perform or display the work publicly. Any violation of a copyright owner’s exclusive right constitutes an infringement. A person who infringes a copyright willfully and for commercial advantage is subject to criminal as well as civil prosecution. Every Cast Member and employee acting on behalf of the Company must honor all copyrights held by other companies.

There are circumstances, however, where it is proper to reproduce portions of
copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching and research. This is called “fair use” and does not constitute copyright infringement.
Since copyright infringement issues are often highly technical, Cast Members and
employees should consult with the Corporate Legal Department whenever there is any question as to permissible use.

. . . .

Cast Members and employees should assist the Company in protecting its copyrights, patents and trademarks.

The Company has an extensive and valuable collection of copyrights, patents and
trademarks. Substantial effort and money is expended to protect this valuable property from infringement. Any Cast Member or employee who knows or suspects that someone has infringed a copyright, patent or a trademark of the Company should advise the Corporate Legal Department.

PG thinks it’s quite nice that all Disney Cast Members e.g. employees are educated concerning the rights of a copyright holder and are informed that any violation of a copyright holder’s exclusive right is an infringement. They are also taught that copyrights can be “valuable property.”

PG didn’t see any portion of Disney’s Standards of Business Conduct that said anything about the importance of paying royalties to a copyright holder under a publishing contract or similar copyright licensing agreement, but a reasonable person might conclude that this was a logical extension of Disney’s recognition of the value of copyrights.

P.S. to Disney’s counsel: PG did note that at the bottom of each page of the Standards of Business Conduct – Legal Standards document you included the following:

© Disney. All Rights Reserved.

PG recognizes Disney’s copyright to this document. Should you misperceive PG’s use of excerpts from your much longer Legal Standards document as infringement of your rights under US Copyright laws, PG will direct your attention to Section 107 of Chapter 1 of The Copyright Law of the United States, which permits the Fair Use of material protected by copyright for the purpose of commentary and other purposes.

PG will extend his commentary to state that Disney should pay royalties according to contract provisions when it uses someone else’s copyrighted material as provided in that same contract. See, for example, PG’s earlier post titled #DisneyMustPay.

Love and Kisses, your friend, PG

6 thoughts on “Standards of Business Conduct – Legal Standards”

  1. <span style=”tongueincheek: infinite”>

    Dear Counsel for The Mouse:

    Remember, dahlings, that just because you’re trying to teach your employees* about protecting Disney’s copyrights doesn’t mean you get to ignore everyone else’s. The experiences y’all had in South Africa regarding "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (more than once!) should remind y’all that if you want respect for your rights and values, you need to respect the rights and values of others. Not to mention Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 11(b)(4) if this ever gets to court; I’m sure that a couple of judges in particular will be happy to see y’all. Again.

    A Hungry Shark (With Extensive Experience in Class Actions, Civil RICO, and Copyright)

    PS So nice that you were able to make up with Stan Lee before his death. Too bad nobody who reads this will use an efficient search engine and creative search terms to find out why I’m saying that.

    * Depending, of course, on whether you’re trying to characterize them as “employees” or “independent contractors.” This week. And how that interfaces with the definitions the Copyright Act.

    </span>

  2. What do you mean, everyone else’s copyrights? The Mouse got the very best copyright law its lobbyists could buy, and it does not recognize any obligation to share that law with anyone else.

    • The Mouse’s lobbying efforts have done nothing to help it in the UK. Peter Pan, the UK law at the heart of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", reproduction Stormtrooper helmets (oops, that’s from before The Mouse bought Lucasfilm, but it should have been anticipated and resolved in The Mouse’s favor).

      And it didn’t work when the Home Audio Recording Act was passed.

      Although the Mickey MouseSonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 certainly benefited The Mouse, it was the entire film industry together with treaty obligations under the Uruguay Round trade agreements.

      So I think this is an overstatement. And I’m no defender of The Mouse…

      • I don’t think it overstates their attitude at all. They lobbied hard for copyright extensions to help them, but obviously don’t give a damn about anyone else’s copyright. It looks to me like they think the law is their private property.

    • T. – I’ll agree that Disney plays hardball with its own copyrights, but it does recognize the copyrights of others.

      As one example, earlier this year, Disney paid $75 million for the film rights to the Broadway musical, “Hamilton”.

      I think you may have misinterpreted CE’s comment.

      • And yet they think they have no obligation to pay authors like Alan Dean Foster under contracts that they acquired from a third party. That fact remains.

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