Just when it looked as though Disney had put their publicized legal troubles behind them following rumors that the Scarlett Johansson debacle over Black Widow‘s Premier Access release was set to be resolved out of court, another claim against the company has officially moved forward.
A software outfit named Rearden is adamant that its MOVA technology has been illegally used in several high profile productions both before and after the Mouse House completed its takeover of Fox. As per the latest report, MOVA captures an actor’s facial expressions to translate them into digital images, which was used in Guardians of the Galaxy, the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake and Deadpool.
Disney attempted to have the case dismissed by arguing that Rearden couldn’t prove any financial losses because it was impossible to outline whether or not the CGI specifically impacted box office takings, but a judge is allowing it to move forward after rejecting the multimedia conglomerate’s argument, and you can read the latest update below.
“This non-speculative evidence supports Rearden’s theory of a causal nexus between the infringement and profits from Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Deadpool. As to these films, it would be reasonable for the jury to infer from Rearden’s evidence that Defendants advertised their use of MOVA and used MOVA-based clips in the film trailer in order to drive interest in the films and thereby increase film profits. To show a causal nexus to indirect profits, there must be evidence that the infringing product is a causal factor, but it ‘need not be the sole causal factor.’”
The judge determined that Rearden’s argument was convincing enough based on behind the scenes footage being used to advertise the titles in question, while commercials and promo spots also directly referenced and praised the visual effects. There’s still a long way to go in terms of proving that the tech was stolen or achieving any sort of notable monetary gain, but it does mean that the case is far from over.
The worst case scenario could be very bad news indeed for Disney, especially when the movies listed in the lawsuit combined to earn billions and billions of dollars from both their theatrical runs and subsequent home video releases.