Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

We shouldn’t forgive and forget the Disney/Sony fiasco

When it was announced that Spider-Man was coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for at least one more solo movie, people across the world rejoiced. As a big fan of the MCU and the newest Spider-Man movies, I was really excited.

However, we shouldn’t ignore the major problems that started the Marvel/Sony fiasco in the first place.

A deal was first struck between Disney and Sony in 2015, allowing Marvel to use Spider-Man in their MCU films while Sony retained distribution rights and creative control over the character.

Fans were finally able to see Spider-Man alongside their favorite superheroes in Captain America: Civil War. We also got to see Spider-Man on his own defeating villains in Homecoming and Far From Home.

Then things took a turn for the worst.

Disney, apparently forgetting that Sony owned all the rights to the character Spider-Man, asked for more out of the deal, allowing Disney to use Spider-Man as a character in their MCU films. Instead of sticking with the deal to have five percent of the sales from the film’s first few days in the box office, as well as all merchandising revenue, they decided to ask for a 50/50 stake in the future Spider-Man films, which was a pure money-grabbing move.

I mean, it’s not like Disney has ownership of other big money-makers like Lucasfilm (responsible for the Star Wars franchise) to keep fueling its corporate flame, right?

Sony didn’t agree to this new deal Disney was pitching, but Disney didn’t budge, resulting in Sony temporarily pulling Spider-Man from the MCU until negotiations could be made.

This is an example of pure corporate greed on Disney’s part. They had something good going for the company and the fans and decided to jeopardize it to try and make an extra buck.

Of course, a majority of fans didn’t see it this way. Instead of seeing Disney as the money-hungry corporation they are, people started blaming Sony for the fiasco, getting the hashtag #boycottSony trending on Twitter.

Even after it was announced that Spider-Man is back in the MCU, people used the hashtag to throw unfair insults at the company. One user on Twitter stated “The promise to license two more movies with Spider-Man, or pulling out of this deal too will not protect you from our wrath.”

People are also forgetting about Disney’s history of greedy business practices.

Back in the early 1900s, the maximum length a creative entity could be protected under copyright law was 56 years. This was to ensure that someone could profit off of their licenses during their lifetime before they entered the public domain.

Disney went and messed that up.

When Disney saw that Mickey Mouse was about to enter the public domain, they got their lawyers to pour millions of dollars into lobbying Congress to extend the Copyright Act.

Their efforts worked. In 1976, Congress extended the act to last for 75 years, and in 1998 that was extended once again to 95 years. Now, thanks to Disney, books, films and songs published way back in 1923 just entered the public domain back in January of this year.

Ironically, if Disney didn’t go and lobby for extended copyright laws, Spider-Man would’ve been one of those entities to enter the public domain this year, meaning they wouldn’t have to deal with Sony to keep the character in their films.

More people should be educated about this deal. Stop blaming Sony for this issue and instead start questioning why Disney feels that they have the right to make money off a character they don’t own.

Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports.

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