Disney on the hook for $345,000 in ‘Magnificence and the Beast’ infringement case

The judge agreed with Disney that the profits of the 2017 movie were attributable to many other factors beyond just the visual effects software it was found to have infringed.

(CN) — Walt Disney Co. must pay $345,098 of its profits from the 2017 live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” to the developer of the visual effects technology that a jury agreed was used without a license to create the appearance of the movie’s eponymous beast.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Oakland on Friday awarded Rearden LLC the same amount of disgorgement as in the advisory verdict a jury returned in December. The judge needed to go through his own calculation of the amount of profit the developer was entitled to for infringement of its technology after he had ruled during the trial that Rearden wasn’t entitled to a jury verdict on that issue.

Though Rearden had sought as much as $38 million of Disney’s profits, the judge agreed with the movie studio that the infringed technology contributed much less than that to the success of Disney’s remake of the 1991 animated feature of the same name.

“Disney met its burden of proving the profits from BATB were substantially attributable to factors other than the infringement,” Tigar said, “including but not limited to: fanship for the 1991 animated movie; Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle; the story; the Disney brand; the music; the overall cast; and the thousands of individuals and hundreds of vendors that worked on the movie for more than two years.”

The movie, starring English actor Dan Stevens as the “Beast,” generated over $1 billion in revenue for Disney and brought in about $215 million in profits through September of last year, according to the judge’s findings.

The jury found Disney liable for vicarious copyright infringement because one of the companies it relied on to create the computer animated appearance of the “Beast” used Rearden’s proprietary contour facial capture technology, which uses software to generate lifelike facial expressions for animated characters in movies and video games.

The technology, sometimes referred to as MOVA, was developed by Steve Perlman, a former principal scientist at Apple, who started San Francisco, Bay Area-based Rearden in 1999.

Digital Domain 3.0, or DD3 was contracted by Disney and used MOVA software to help capture facial performances of Dan Stevens and to process that data into a tracked mesh, according to judge’s findings. But components other than MOVA software were also needed to capture Stevens’s facial performance and process the tracked mesh.

“Where it was used, MOVA was one step in a multi-step pipeline to animate the Beast’s face in certain shots,” Tigar said. “Steps that did not use MOVA included at least: creating the Beast’s facial rig, the on-set performance, re-targeting, animating, shot modeling, rotomotion, paint, character effects, lighting, environmental effects, and compositing.”

Rearden claimed in its 2017 lawsuit against Disney that an employee of one of its subsidiaries had sold the MOVA intellectual property to DD3 without authority.

An attorney for Rearden and representatives of Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday’s ruling.

Follow @edpettersson

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button