Disney Pursues Copycat DVD Producers

Copycat DVD Cover - Braver Brave Poster

Do they still have video rental stores anywhere? All we have here in Orlando are those Redbox vending machines. While cheaper and more convenient, at RedBox and Netflix there’s no chance to pickup a DVD and examine the box, so I can imagine that from time to time, someone rents an animated film thinking it’s the Disney or Pixar version, but finds out when they get home it’s a copycat knockoff; much shorter and with animation well below the standards we’re used to from the mouse house.

It’s that potential for confusion that is driving Disney to ask a UK distributor of misleading DVDs to quit the practice.

Disney said in a statement: “People place great trust in the quality and creativity of Disney, and when it appears that another company is causing confusion among Disney consumers we will act to protect ourselves and the consumer. Disney believes Brightspark has demonstrated a pattern of misleading consumers with numerous releases that confuse and undermine the trust those consumers have in Disney.”

Have you ever fallen victim to this predatory practice? Which movie did you think you where getting, and what did you end up watching instead?

More at The Guardian:

6 thoughts on “Disney Pursues Copycat DVD Producers”

  1. Yes and it’s annoying! Every time a movie comes out, some knock off version is in the Redbox. Like Braver, or some Abraham Lincoln Vampire movie. They are all KNOCKOFFS of the actual movies that are out or being released. I have been confused a time or to but realized it before I bought a piece of shit version of a movie I’d like. I am totally behind Disney to get these people to stop. Why even try to compare their movies to Disney? They don’t stand a chance .

  2. These are called mockbusters:

    “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Transmorphers (2007), a mockbuster of the film Transformers
    A mockbuster (sometimes also called a knockbuster or a drafting opportunity[1]) is a film created with the apparent intention of piggy-backing on the publicity of a major film with a similar title or theme and is often made with a low budget. Often these films are created to be released direct-to-video at the same time as the mainstream film reaches theaters or video outlets.”

  3. Not really sure what makes NOW the time that this is an issue. Companies have been doing it for YEARS! Even right now, on On-Demand, you can watch knock-offs of a slew of Disney films that actually bear the SAME NAME has their blockbuster counterparts, because the titles are unfortunately public domain.

    But really, the best way to protect yourself is to just be smart. if the imagery shown on the Redbox screen doesn’t have the Disney logo anywhere, then it’s not a Disney flick. Disney has been nothing if not persistent in branding its own product, so I don’t really see where they have any legs in pursuing this case, as no real copyright or trademark laws are being infringed upon.

    This situation is really no different than those companies that use similar marketing gimmicks to sell cheaper knock-off breakfast cereals. Same coloring, same food-shape, but slightly different name and distinctly lower price. The big cereal corporations tried many times to shut that down and failed, so it stands to reason that Disney will, as well.

    1. It’s called trade dress infringement, which is when the offending material does not technically infringe any copyright, but presents itself in a way very similar to the original. So yes, Disney does have a case to pursue this as nobody can deny that the infringing materials are obvious, blatant knockoffs meant to piggyback off of successful franchises and profit by misleading consumers.

  4. I saw this for the first time just recently…. a DVD being sold in Target called Kiara the Brave (Kiara in small type, BRAVE in big celtic letters, red-headed princess on the cover, etc). I couldn’t believe it was legal or that some merchandiser at Target ordered it and put it on the shelf. It was gone by the next time I went (when I wanted to show it to my husband!)

  5. I’ve never bought one myself, but I have seen lots of these DVDs. Like “Tangled Up” or “The Little Cars 2”. I even remember seeing these things when I was a little kid. Me and my sister have been looking at this one in Morrison’s for months, wondering when something would happen. I hope this goes off shelves as soon as possible.

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