Disney & Studios Can’t Dodge Claims Over Stolen Technology | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Disney & Studios Can’t Dodge Claims Over Stolen Technology

Disney and other major film studios cannot dodge lawsuits claiming they used stolen technology to create lifelike animated characters in top-grossing films like “Beauty and the Beast,” a federal judge ruled Monday.

Finding it plausible that the studios knew they were using stolen software and that they directly benefited from that use, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar refused to dismiss claims of vicarious and contributory copyright infringement.

“Liability here could be very substantial,” Mark Carlson, a lawyer for plaintiff Rearden LLC, said in an interview.

Rearden, a San Francisco-based technology firm, sued the studios last year.

Rearden claims Disney, Twenty-First Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and video game maker Crystal Dynamics knowingly contracted with Digital Domain 3.0, or DD3, a company that acquired a stolen version of its facial performance motion capture technology.

The MOVA Contour technology uses phosphorescent makeup on actors’ faces with synchronized cameras and software to transform the curves, expressions and movements of human faces into lifelike animations.

If Rearden prevails, it could seek damages for lost profits and disgorgement of some box office and distribution earnings, according to Carlson.

“Beauty and the Beast is one film that made over $1 billion,” Carlson said. “The lead character [the Beast] is a [computer generated] character created using our technology so damages there could be very substantial.”