A jury found on Thursday that Disney infringed on VFX company Rearden’s intellectual property with CG animation used in the 2017 live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Oakland jury found that Disney knew they may be committing copyright infringement and awarded Rearden approximately $600,000.
Rearden sought more than $100 million, arguing that the box office success of “Beauty and the Beast” could be contributed to MOVA Contour. The jury decided that the film’s success could not be largely attributed to the technology and only $350,000 of the final award is meant to recover box office profits.
Disney worked with digital effects house Digital Domain 3.0 (DD3) on the film. They used the VFX software MOVA Contour to create CG animated characters. Rearden claimed they owned the software, which uses motion capture to transfer an actor’s physical performance into computer-generated images, and that DD3 stole it and used it for films produced by Disney and other studios.
In 2016, a judge found that DD3 and their affiliate Shenzhen Haiticheng Science and Technology and Virtual Global Holdings were behaving “fraudulently” in transferring ownership of MOVA technology among Chinese firms.
The trial focused on whether or not Disney could be held liable for DD3’s copyright infringement.
We first reported on this complicated lawsuit in 2020. Rearden filed their initial lawsuit against Disney just five months after the release of “Beauty and the Beast.” The lawsuit also involved other films but, last year, a judge ruled that Disney did not have to turn over profits for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Deadpool” (via The Hollywood Reporter).