We have received several e-mails discussing the possibility that Pixar’s latest star, WALL*E is a proponent of copyright infringement. And it’s not just our readers who see the problem.
According to reporters at Unsubstantiated Rumor Magazine, former Disney CEO and Pixar unaficionado Michael Eisner has accused WALL*E of fostering music piracy by recording the soundtrack of a video tape. Noting that by making a copy of the music for himself WALL*E has “duplicated copyrighted content and distributed it to every sentient being left on the planet.” Eisner says he is willing to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that, “the movie suggests to people that they can create theft if they buy WALL*E robots.”
Disney legal analyst and unofficial spokesperson Bill Manyhours responds to these allegations. “In the context of the film,” says Manyhours, “Hello, Dolly! would have been out of copyright for more than 700 years. Under these very specific, rigidly defined conditions, Disney does not see a legal problem with a user making a single copy of the soundtrack of the film for personal use, so long as no copyright protection schemes are circumvented. For the same reason, we do not see Wall*E’s attempt to hold Eve’s hand as theft of intellectual property even though he is clearly doing so in an attempt to recreate the action depicted in the film and this might, in another context, be considered an illegal digital-to-analog conversion.”
Manyhours added that, although he stands by his statements at this time, they may be impacted by pending Disney-sponsored legislation which would extend corporate copyright protection “into the foreseeable future.” He also asks us to remind our readers that making a copy of the portion of theWALL*E soundtrack that includes only the sounds of the portion of Hello, Dolly! that were copied by Wall*E is curently a violation of copyrights held by both Disney and 20th Century Fox, “so don’t even think about it.”