Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Battle with Disney over Crop Circle Photos

By Colin Andrews

CA: The Movie "Signs" - The scariest movie ever. The public were not aware of what was going on behind the scenes - I had threatened an injunction to stop the movie release in Europe - a threat Disney found out quickly that they had to take seriously. Quickly conceding to my legal demands:
According to 'Decider' and many who watched Disney, Mel Gibson, blockbuster movie 'Signs', it was: "The Scariest Alien Movie Ever"? http://decider.com/…/signs-at-15-the-scariest-alien-movie-…/
By Jade Budowski @jadebudowski
Jul 29, 2017

First though - back to my legal battle which I won in less than a day.
CA Comments:
The public have not been aware until now that a frantic legal battle was going on behind the scenes which nearly scuttled the European launch schedule of 'Signs'. Why? Because I discovered that Disney had broken contract with me. I was in the process of instructing my attorney to issue an injunction on Disney to cease their scheduled filmed advertisements and TV interviews with the stars of the film, ahead of the European launch. This was unexpected and sad because I was a consultant for the movie.
The Disney legal heads first tried to impress me that they were making me famous and that even 'Starbucks' paid them to be named in such releases etc. I pointed out that I was not a movie star or a coffee company but a researcher and well known in my own right for what I do.
They questioned my official complaint, which was the breaking of agreed terms of my contract for limited use of 11 crop circle photographs. They checked my contract, not believing my claim. After all, this was Disney I was talking to, who have teams of legal experts who just don't make these kinds of mistakes for which I protested. They asked for 20 minutes to check my claim against the contract - then came back first with an attempt to put me down and tell me how lucky I was to be working with them. After the arrogance, came obvious panic when they acknowledged their error - a serious one at that - because some of the crop circle photographs were promised to be published exclusively in my new book 'Crop Circles - Signs of Contact, co authored with New York Times best selling author, Steve Spignesi. The book was due any time soon. They had used them behind many interviews on many national TV shows - none legally.
The 11 photographs were licensed only for use at specific pop music venues, which were planned for the launch of the film.....but hey, on this particular day, I turned on my television set and there I was as filmed in England some short time before and Mel Gibson back in Hollywood being interviewed with my photographs fading in and out behind him as back drop. Later in the day another TV show and now I was looking very closely. There was Night Shamalan and Joquin Phoenix again with my photos as backdrop. This was in complete contravention of contract, which placed them in a very serious situation and for me too, because the exclusive material for our new book 'Signs of Contact' was blown out of the water.
I had a signed contract with Disney with strict conditions which did NOT include backdrop for television interviews with Mel Gibson, Night Shamalan or Joquin Phoenix. I had taken part in several TV interviews myself for the movie launch and would have been shocked had they again inserted backdrop using my own material behind me. I though had the real deal behind me, i.e. Silbury Hill and I was stood in a crop circle.
Disney, are renowned for their ruthless pursuit of copyright contraventions of their own material, such as Micky Mouse etc, but here now they were in a tangle. In the days following the release in the United States, and hours before the transmission of interviews with the movies stars for the European they had a problem they had to remedy - with a threat of an injunction.
Their initial attitude towards me didn't help them. Their contracts attorney was like "hey little nobody, it was an error made by a junior staff member but you should be thankful because we are making you well known. So we will send a new contract through to clear this up - sign it and fax it back straight away. That will be great".
Not so fast ......They had tried all the slick talk and flattery and so now what, this they knew this was going to cost them. In less than two hours Disney agreed new terms with me to proceed but to this day I realize it was nowhere enough. Not because I am greedy but because their arrogance and lack of apology with not the slightest concern for my promise of exclusivity to my publisher for the new book 'Crop Circles - Signs of Contact". Perhaps the title of the book should have been called "Signs" of a broken Contract".
Andrews & Spignesi Book: Crop Circles - Signs of Contact
PS: I later learned that Paramount Pictures had a very similar breach which cost them more than $4,000,000 and that was over 2 photographs. Oooooww!

Colin Andrews: www.ColinAndrews.net

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