A film about death that will probably be happier than 90 percent of Pixar films about life.
They've since settled on the title Coco, but not before attempting to trademark the phrase "Dia de los Muertos" for use on toys, clothing, footwear, clocks, backpacks, fruit snacks, and half a dozen other things. Here's the problem: Turns out, Dia de los Muertos is already a thing -- and not just, like, "already a thing Disney owns" but, like, "already a Mexican holiday that was celebrated before Columbus ever even landed and therefore predates even the concept of a trademark." Also, pretty much everyone is already selling Dia de los Muertos shirts. So.
Con mucho queso.
Disney withdrew the trademark application after pretty much the entire country of Mexico burst onto social media to point out that trying to trademark their culture was kind of a huge dick move -- so, crisis averted, we guess. What really bothers us, though, is that Disney apparently successfully trademarked the word "Cars." Does that mean every time we talk about cars, we owe Disney a dollar?
Nah, y'know what? We'll gladly pay it, as long as it means we don't have to watch the movie again.
Columbia Pictures Goes After The Word "Pixels," Gets Their Own Trailer Pulled
A bit of computer history, for anyone who doesn't know: While no one is quite sure who coined it, the word "pixel" dates back to at least the 1960s, as a contraction of the phrase "picture element." All it means is the tiny square dots that make up a picture on your computer or TV screen. You're looking at thousands of pixels right now.
It was also the title of an Adam Sandler movie released earlier this year by Columbia Pictures -- an appropriate title, given that Pixels technically had all the elements of a motion picture and not much else. And, evidently, Columbia was so proud of their idea to combine cutting-edge special effects with outdated Adam Sandler antics that they decided to go after every video on Vimeo that tried to use the word "pixels" in its title. Because using a word in a movie title means you own it, right, Disney?
What's next? We get sued because Josh Gad probably said the word "it" at some point?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- yes, the same law that says John Deere still owns your sexy tractor -- gives any copyright holder the right to demand that a website take down the material they own. The website owner is then required by law to immediately comply and, if they disagree with the takedown notice, they can later challenge it in court. You may notice that this puts the entire burden on the website owner, which means it's in the interest of copyright holders to simply carpet-bomb websites with takedown notices.
This may explain why, of the 10 videos Columbia sent Vimeo angry letters about, only one of them actually contained any material from the movie, and it was the official trailer.
"Columbia Pictures? They sound shady. Burn them."
It may seem strange that Columbia would want to censor an ad for the product they were selling, but -- conspiracy theory ahead -- maybe the whole thing was done deliberately, out of sheer embarrassment over having made Pixels.
Luke T. Harrington writes the weekly column "LOL Interwebz" for Christ And Pop Culture. His debut horror novel, OPHELIA, ALIVE, will be out from Post Mortem Press in 2016. Follow him on Twitter, if that's your thing.
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