Drawing the Line: Disney CEO Bob Iger Distances ESPN from Sports Betting

Earlier this month, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger dismissed any notion that ESPN has plans to fully engulf itself in the sports betting arena.

On Disney’s first-quarter earnings call, Iger was asked whether sports gambling is something that can co-exist within the typically family-friendly Disney Brand.  In a somewhat unexpected response, Iger explained that “I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way.  I do think …

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The Fakest Place on Earth? Chinese Government Fines Phony Disney Hotel Owners

The Shanghai city government has fined five knockoff hotels for trademark infringement claiming that the hotels violated the intellectual property rights of the Walt Disney Company. Shenzen Vienna Hotels Group, the owners and operators of the five hotels in question, used unauthorized Disney trademarks on signs and websites, authorities say.  The Shanghai Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce fined each hotel 100,000 yuan, or a little more than $15,000 for the trademark violations.

The fines come in response to the Chinese government’s pledge to protect …

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Bittersweet Victory: DraftKings Reaches Deal With ESPN Without Any Equity Investment

On Wednesday, June 24, fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc. reached a promotional partnership with ESPN.  DraftKings had reportedly been in talks with Walt Disney Co., ESPN’s parent company, for an equity investment earlier this year.  According to the reports from April, Disney was close to investing $250 million into DraftKings, an amount that would value the company at roughly $900 million.

Although neither company would discuss how much the ESPN marketing deal was actually worth, the agreement makes DraftKings the “official fantasy sports offering” on …

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Disney Fails on Attempt to Dismiss “Frozen” Teaser-Trailer Lawsuit

Federal Judge Vince Chhabria for the Northern District of California denied Disney’s attempt to dismiss a copyright lawsuit brought against it alleging ideas used in a teaser trailer for the hit film “Frozen” was stolen.

The lawsuit, brought by animator Kelly Wilson in March of 2014, claims the trailer was ripped off from her 2-D short film “The Snowman.”  Arguing the trailer has many similarities to the short film, Wilson must also prove that Disney was aware of it and had seen it.  Disney brought …

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Disney, Sony, DreamWorks Asked Court to Dismiss Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

Major animation studios filed a motion to dismiss an antitrust suit filed against them by their former employees.  The defendants Disney, Sony, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky argued in the filing that the plaintiff animators brought the suit five years after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 began scrutinizing arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees in the industry.  Moreover, the defendants further claimed the allegations that the studios would collude to suppress wages was “implausible” when the DOJ’s probe began and after …

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California Federal Court Moves ADA Suit Against Disney to Florida

Disney successfully argued before a California federal judge that a suit alleging Disney’s Disability Access Service (“DAS”) discriminates against autistic children should be transferred to Florida from California where it originated.  Disney reasoned that because the DAS program’s developers are based in Florida and employee training of the program also took place in Florida, the appropriate venue for the suit would be a Florida federal court.

Instead of letting disabled guests to skip lines, the DAS program now informs them a return time for attractions …

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Does Disney Discriminate Against the Elderly?

On June 10, Kevin Brady, a 26-year veteran story writer for Walt Disney Pictures, filed suit against the studio alleging age discrimination. Brady further alleges that Disney has a “history and pattern of terminating long-term employees and replacing them with younger employees who have less experience at the company.”

Brady was hired as a full-time employee in 1988, and received several promotions over the following decades, culminating in his promotion to head of the story department in 2005. Brady says he consistently received excellent performance …

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Disney Hoping to Freeze “Frozen Land”

This holiday season Disney released its newest animated film “Frozen.” To celebrate, the company presented Phase 4 Films with a gift worse than Aunt Edna’s fruit cake – a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Disney’s “Frozen” was released on November 19, 2013.  Less than three weeks earlier, Phase 4 changed the title of one of its from “The Legend of Sarila” to “Frozen Land.”  In a December 23 complaint, Disney stated the change was an attempt to ride the coattails of “Frozen’s” success.

Under its original title, …

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Disney Suing Musical Company for Infringement

Last week, entertainment giant Disney file suit against a Pennsylvania based Entertainment Theatre Group, doing business as American Music Theatre (AMT).  In its complaint, Disney alleges that AMT’s production, Broadway: Now and Forever, infringes its rights and is seeking damages.

AMT is staging Broadway: Now and Forever, a show that billed as a “larger-than-life theatrical compilation of unforgettable music from the hottest new blockbusters to all-time favorite classics.” “Broadway: Now and Forever recreates the greatest moments ever on stage.”

The show …

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