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Disney files $1,000,000 Lawsuit Against Family Party Business for Use of Pooh Characters

WFTV reports on a lawsuit Disney has filed against a Lake County, FL family owned business for using Disney characters as part of their party entertainment business. It’s in video format, but the bonus is you get to see the really ‘high’ quality of Pooh character costumes they had purchased from eBay to use in their party business.

Alas, these weren’t look-a-like costumes where it could be argued that they weren’t infringing on Disney’s trademark and copyright. I’m especially not very sympathetic to someone who lives practically next door the Magic Kingdom and claims to not know what they were doing would upset Disney’s lawyers. Not to mention impacting the magic of kids and families who expected real Disney quality characters and got those shoddy eBay knockoffs instead.

The Walt Disney Company has every right to take them to the cleaners, but it sounds like the family might get off with just a slap on the wrist and covering Disney’s legal fees.

See also: the Orlando Sentinel‘s coverage.

14 thoughts on “Disney files $1,000,000 Lawsuit Against Family Party Business for Use of Pooh Characters”

  1. My gosh, those Disney people are heartless. I may LOVE Disneyland TO DEATH, but I have to say I feel for the family and NOT the company…She’s on food stamps for cripes sakes, and you believe she should be punished FURTHER? Dang, you’re a snake, a heartless snake!

    1. Food stamps or no, this family violated the law, and then when they were asked to remove the images from their websites, they did not comply.

      Why should they get away with breaking the law?

  2. As an artist, I have to side with the Mouse. You HAVE to protect your copyrights and trademarks, because no one else will do it for you. And I simply cannot believe that this woman didn’t know that using Disney characters and Disney art without permission was wrong.

    It’s not about being heartless. It’s the LAW. And it’s the law for everyone, whether they’re a small artist like me or a multi-national company like Disney. These people were wrong, and they got caught.

  3. Matt – Friend look to your law.
    in most US States if you don’t agressivly protect your copywright you loose all of it. It is as you say a shame but…

  4. Woah, does Disney need the money that badly? I understand maybe a cease and desist type letter and then following up, but a million dollars? They definitely just want to throw their weight around.

  5. I totally see Disney’s side. But why doesn’t Disney also go after the people who take a camcorder to the Magic Kingdom and later issue & openly sell a DVD of the park online? Or the websites that sell magazines filled with images of Disney theme parks? How or why are they protected? I want to do it too! :)

  6. I can believe that she didn’t understand copyright (or is this trademark?)law. I know A LOT of people who have no clue about these things. But, as a business person, it’s your job to find out.

    The video didn’t say if that was her personal MySpace page, or the business’s that had that last picture. It makes no difference from a legal stand point, but usually no one will go after individuals hosting pictures. A business however, would be asking for it by leaving that up after getting the cease and desist.

  7. I’ve been reading about this case – The couple have done everything requested by Disney except destroy the actual costumes. They returned the costumes to the sellers for a refund because they needed the money. Disney is still suing them even though they can no longer can infringe on their copyright.

    The funny thing is that, with the couple dancing around as tigger and eyeore, they were actually promoting Disney. Now, with them getting sued, Disney is actually getting BAD publicity. How exactly is this good business sense?

  8. That family knew exactly what they were doing and got caught. if any of you made something and it was the heart and soul of your company you would want to protect it too! I am behind Disney 100%

  9. From Techdirt:

    You all know the history of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, right? It all started with a train crash in 1900 killing one engineer named Cayce Jones. That crash inspired the fireman on that train ride to write a song commemorating Jones. That song became popular, passed along from railroad to railroad, and some others took it and turned it into a popular song about “Casey Jones.” That was so popular, that some other songwriters basically remixed the song into one about a Steamboat captain: Steamboat Bill. That became so popular that Buster Keaton made a silent film called “Steamboat Bill Jr.” And, finally, that inspired Walt Disney to take the idea of a mouse named Mickey (which some believe he got from a popular toy named Micky Mouse sold by an entirely different company) and created a parody video called “Steamboat Willie.” That launched Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney into a world of fame and fortune — all based on this creative passing on of songs, names, characters and content — all of which Disney now believes should be illegal.

    Just something to think about.

  10. Pingback: Disney sues another party company over trademark, copyright | The Disney Blog

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