Disney has lost a trial related to the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake’s VFX and now has to pay approximately $600,000 for copyright infringement.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, an Oakland jury found Disney guilty of infringing on copyrighted intellectual property called MOVA Contour belonging to VFX company Rearden when making the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, which was released in 2017.
What was the Beauty and the Beast lawsuit about?
“At the core of the dispute was whether DD3, the company Disney teamed up with on [Beauty and the Beast], owned the tech that the movie’s principal players attributed to its 10-figure success,” the article states. “A complicated chain of title, involving a bankruptcy and a fraudulent sale, effectively led to confusion around ownership and licensures of MOVA. The sole claim in the trial was whether Disney should be held vicariously liable for DD3’s alleged infringement of MOVA, meaning it was aware that the company may not have properly licensed the tech but continued to use and benefit from it anyway.”
Rearden was reportedly looking for more than $100 million from the court case, as the company argued Beauty and the Beast’s box office success was largely because of the copyrighted technology that was used without the proper permissions.
In total, Beauty and the Beast made approximately $1.266 billion at the worldwide box office by the time its theatrical run was finished.
The $600,000 figure that Disney now has to pay indicates that the jurors don’t agree there was a large correlation between the VFX and the film’s box office numbers. “Of Disney’s $255 million in profits for the film, they attributed roughly $345,00 to use of the tech,” The Hollywood Reporter’s article states.
Disney and Rearden didn’t The Hollywood Reporter’s requests for comment. Additional trials could be on the way for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, as both films also utilized MOVA Contour after Disney was made aware of the copyright infringement.