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DISNEY ACQUIRES LUCASFILM, IS THIS A THREAT TO YOUR FREEDOM?

The Walt Disney Company has purchased Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound for $4 BILLION and change. But is this a good thing for Americans interested in personal freedom?

From the announcement …

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments. <Source: http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/disney-news/press-releases/2012/10/disney-acquire-lucasfilm-ltd >

What Disney did to your freedom …

It appears that Disney has done more to subvert the personal electronic freedom of individuals using paid industry lobbyists to entice politicians to promote laws, rules and regulations that criminalize the sharing of copyrighted materials even when such materials may be in the public domain. To protect their content creation and distribution powerhouse, they have promoted policies which demanded that every electronic device capable of recording and playback of copyrighted content be equipped with such things as Globally Unique IDentifiers (GUIDs) which allow content to be tracked to individual devices – and often the individuals using such devices. Thus enabling a global “big brother” apparatus capable of being used by governments to monitor its citizen’s activities by stealth and without safeguard.

It has also disadvantaged the American public by breaking the original compact by which content creators cede rights to their creations to the public domain in return for a government-enforced monopoly for a set period of time. By their manipulation of corrupt politicians who were apparently willing to trade their vote in return for campaign contributions, this period of exclusive use has been extended beyond a person’s lifetime – rendering such a compact as a theoretical exercise.

In addition, laws have been passed which allow content in the public domain to be contained in an electronic wrapper – and while the information may belong to the public at large, breaking the wrapper is a federal crime. Not to mention transferring the costs of investigating and prosecuting alleged copyright violations from the content creator/distributors directly to the already overburdened taxpayers. While making a civil issue into a criminal issue.

Bottom line …

Now that Disney is expanding its creative and technology line – are we likely to see more interference in the political denial of rights to American citizens? Are we likely to see more tracking and preventative technology?

While this deal is good for the brand and the shareholders, is it good for the American public at large? I suggest that you join the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org) to start preserving your digital rights in this politically corrupt world.

-- steve

Reference Links …

Copyright Wars

If the Brothers Grimm tale about “the fairest one of all” had remained outside of the public domain, the Disney version of “Snow White” may never have lived happily ever after.

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Golan v. Holder, a case challenging the copyright provision of the 1994 Congressional Act that restored protections to works that entered the public domain after their copyrights had expired.

Peter Decherney, an associate professor of film studies in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, argues in a New York Times op-ed, “Will Copyright Stifle Hollywood?,” that there are many reasons the justices should conclude that Congress has gone too far in altering the U.S. copyright system.

He writes, “For one thing, restoring the copyright of works in the public domain is a different and more profound act than the extension of copyright terms. By removing works from the public domain, Congress has destabilized it. If foreign works can have their copyrights restored, why not works made in the United States? Filmmakers, producers and others who regularly rely on the public domain will become wary of using it.”

Decherney, who wrote an amicus brief for the plaintiff, is author of the forthcoming book “Hollywood’s Copyright Wars.” It explores the history of film piracy, the importance of plagiarism for the studio system, film directors’ campaign for “moral rights,” and Hollywood’s love-hate relationship with fair use, among other topics.

Copyright Term Extension Act


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