Disney Fined for Copyright Infringement Over Stolen VFX Tech in Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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Disney Fined for Copyright Infringement Over Stolen VFX Tech in Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

A jury in Oakland ruled in favor of Rearden, a VFX company, concluding that Disney violated the company’s intellectual property by utilizing copyrighted technology in the animation of CG characters in Beauty and the Beast. The jury awarded Rearden approximately $600,000, recognizing that Disney knowingly engaged in potential copyright infringement by using VFX software known as MOVA Contour. This technology has been employed in various major Hollywood productions. The verdict, including nearly $350,000, aims to recover profits linked to the use of the technology.

Related – David Oyelowo Gives Update On Upcoming “The Rocketeer” Disney+ Sequel

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According to the Hollywood Reporter, the awarded figure represents only a fraction of the potential damages Disney faced in the case, which posed a threat to Beauty and the Beast’s profits. Rearden initially sought over $100 million, contending that the film’s box office success was significantly influenced by the VFX work executed by MOVA.

The legal dispute arose five months after Beauty and the Beast premiered, leading to a lawsuit by Rearden against Disney for the improper use of its technology in three movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy and multiple Avengers installments. The core issue revolved around whether DD3, the company Disney collaborated with on the project, possessed the technology attributed to the film’s success. The intricate chain of title, involving bankruptcy and a fraudulent sale, created confusion regarding the ownership and licensing of MOVA.


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The trial focused on whether Disney should be held vicariously liable for DD3’s alleged infringement of MOVA, indicating that the company was aware of potential licensing issues but continued to use and benefit from the technology.

The jury’s decision implies that a significant portion of Beauty and the Beast’s box office earnings may not be directly credited to the VFX work performed by MOVA. Of Disney’s $255 million in profits from the film, the jury attributed approximately $345,000 to the use of the contested technology.


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Chip is the owner, editor, and writer of Chip and Company. When he is not writing about Disney News or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney Vacation.
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