Fijian Boatmakers to Disney: We Want Compensation for ‘Moana’

Concept art from Moana (left) and traditional Fijian camakau (photo via WCS Fiji).

Concept art from Moana (left) and traditional Fijian camakau (photo via WCS Fiji).

Disney’s next animated feature Big Hero 6 isn’t even out yet, but some parties have already begun claiming that Moana, a Disney feature scheduled for 2016 release, stole their intellectual property rights. The claims are based on a single piece of Moana concept art that Disney released last month.

Fijian organizations argue that Disney used the design of a traditional boat called a camakau (pronounced tha-ma-cow) without their permission. Colin Philp, a Mua Voyage coordinator, told the Fiji Times:

There are two ways of looking at the traditional canoe being featured in the Disney production. One would be people being happy that the traditional canoes are being featured. But the other way of looking at this is on the intellectual property rights side, that the canoe design or the collaboration of the design is quite valuable.

It’s something that I think they have gone ahead with without any approval from the iTaukei Affairs and the intellectual property owners, being the elders or the canoe builders of Fiji. While it is great that Pacific island voyaging culture is being featured, I do hope the owners (canoe builders) will receive appropriate compensation for use of their canoe design since the movie will make billions of dollars and the people from Korova are not being exploited.

Why contemporary Fijian boatmakers deserve compensation for a centuries-old boat design to which they have no authorship or ownership rights isn’t explained in the piece. From a legal perspective, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that Disney doesn’t have the same rights as the Fijian boatmakers to use a traditional camakau design in their work.

Amazingly, the boat isn’t the only tenuous claim of infringement being made against that piece of Moana concept art. An anonymous reader sent the image below that alleges Disney used a photo from this website for the background of their Moana concept art. Here’s the “proof”:

moana-photo

If two allegations can be derived from one piece of Moana still art, imagine the claims that’ll be made when the actual film is released.


  • forzaq8

    you can trademark traditional boats now ? i thought they are traditional boat for a reason ….
    whats next ? German navy suing Hollywood for all the U-sub usage ?

    • BurntToShreds

      Scandinavian peoples suing over the use of traditional Viking longboats?

      • Fried

        Quick! Let’s sue Zelda: Wind Waker!

    • Ravlic

      There was yoiking in Frozen. SUE!

    • Dusty Ayres

      The German navy could always sue the historians and model kit companies if they felt infringed, but they haven’t-why, I wonder, is that?

  • Cheese

    It’s “Frozen” lawsuit all over again.

  • Sterling Sheehy

    Ha, thats hilarious. Someone who thinks its wrong to use other peoples works without permission, draws on top of a Disney concept painting. Classic. I wonder if they got permission to do that?… Copyright is really misunderstood. I guess to some people, i’m a felon because I like to draw landscapes and random people in my sketchbook.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/skazillashmack Danimal

    haha…people suck so much.

  • http://www.annaliberty.com JTennor

    I took a picture of a snowflake once, and it looked exactly like a snowflake that quickly passes by in Frozen. I should sue for millions.

  • AnimationGuy

    Grasping at straws.

    Being in New Zealand, I have seen that there seems to be some amount of… resentment from members of the Pasifika population towards Disney for making a story based on their cultural history.

  • Goldie

    Eh, both claims are silly. People are just desperate for money.

  • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

    Never ends, does it?

  • bon

    sigh.
    this is dumb in my opinion.

    Especially the photo thing… the overlays don’t even match up… sure there is a similar shape that WAS probably referenced from the photo… or the island itself if they went there, but they’re using it as an interesting component in the shape language they’ve created and they aren’t directly stealing the photos.

    The lower photo is just… not even present in the painting.

    If you’re going to make the photo argument, there are much stronger examples than this.

    As for the design of the boats… why don’t we go after any filmmaker making any film that takes place anywhere outside of their own house.

  • Toonio

    Good companies copy, successful companies steal.

  • Strong Enough

    BRUH! how can you trademark a boat style? bwawawa

  • Céu D’Ellia

    The background claim is obviously ridiculous. But I would not badly judge the Fiji canoe builders so quickly. Tribal cultures have been swallowed and ripped off of their knowledge without receiving a penny for it. The Pharmaceutical Industry makes zillions of bucks registering patents of traditional nature medicines.
    The design of the canoe belongs to the Fiji people. And that it´s an issue that have been discussed a lot in the environmental forums: how to give a way of surviving to those that keep the wild world alive, to the benefits of everybody and everyone? Will not Disney make money with the copyright of its image´s films?
    Maybe we shall try to exercise our minds a little out of the digital
    domain.

    • Céu D’Ellia

      Will Disney have franchising toy boats to sell?
      If a toy company does produce and sell car toys with Porsche, Jaguar, etc., design, will the company pay copyrights to the cars companies?

    • http://www.doodlesinanimation.blogspot.com Annie T.

      I’d say you’re right. However, I’m not really sure that this particular group has the best legal claim. It’s a traditional canoe. By definition the people who designed it are either unknown or dead (usually both), and can’t claim copyright. The design’s been around long enough to become public domain (at least 100+ years), and it’s not exactly like it’s ever even OCCURED to anybody to copyright a traditional canoe.

      That being said, this makes way more sense then that woman who sued Disney over Frozen because she claimed they ripped off her autobiography.

  • S J Bennett

    The European folk tales that Disney sourced their early material from were (rightly) considered public domain and ripe for the picking. Now that Disney is spreading their net further afield for “inspiration”, it’s clear that some groups are neither ready nor willing to let a megacorp appropriate their culture for window-dressing without at least consultation.

    Newsflash: Nowhere is it written that these folks have to be OK with it. Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it’s fair game without explicitly asking about terms of use first.

    The concept of “intellectual property” is not exclusively a modern Western idea, but the IP of traditionally oral cultures – how to make a boat, a tribal story, a design used in ceremony – isn’t well enough explained, represented or protected in contemporary law/culture to the extent that even the notion of owning a traditional story or boat design is completely invisible and even absurd.

    Try looking at it this way: the Fijians in question have had generations of concept work ripped off by Hollywood. I don’t see what makes Fiji’s tradition-based IP ripe for free plunder just because it’s tradition-based. Nobody else finds that attitude a bit racist and colonial?

    • Ravlic

      The same thing that makes everything else in public domain ripe for free plunder? Why are our folk tales or literature “rightly” free picking for Americans or everyone else for that matter? Because we’re white? Because all white people share the same culture?
      If traditional designs can be copyrighted, then why can’t we sue every time we see a knight’s armor? Being Slavic, can I sue Disney for using Chernobog in Fantasia?

      • S J Bennett

        Thanks for your reply. And you’re welcome to go after Disney for (mis)using Chernobog who sounds far more interesting than some scary proxy for Satan on a mountain playing with dolls.

        Disney sourced much of their early material (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty) from the Brothers Grimm who sourced it from European folk tales – to the best of my knowledge these folk tales were part of a great cultural commons, not belonging to anyone in particular. Cultural commons are there to be picked over, hence they’re “rightly” there to be reused and reinterpreted the same as Chuck Jones and Carl Stalling reused and reinterpreted Wagner in “What’s Opera, Doc”. In Europe, culture and cultural artefacts by and large belong to nobody in any exclusive sense – once they reach a certain age, they enter the public domain. It’s even enshrined in law.

        Not every culture in the world thinks the same way, however.

        In some cultures – Indigenous Australia is the example I’m familiar with – many stories are not cultural commons even within the traditional culture (let alone to people outside that culture). Some stories are even secret, meant for rituals and initiations. Individuals are conferred with the responsibility of memorising, preserving and telling those stories in order to keep their traditional knowledge around and in doing so keep their people alive. All the wisdom of their ancestors and the land around them is bundled up in their Dreaming stories. The stories, dances, art and other cultural elements are treated as an exclusive property that belongs only to certain people – and that absolutely includes reproduction rights. (Haven’t got a particular totem? Can’t tell that totem’s story.)

        I’m not saying there’s a strong legal basis for canoe builders from Fiji to sue the Mouse and win, because contemporary law tends to follow the European idea of a public domain, but hopefully this explains a cultural basis for why they’d seek to do so.

        • Ravlic

          “European” folk tales? I believe those tales are German, some Scandinavian. The fact that they’re generalized as European doesn’t change the culture they came from and where they were nurtured. I also very much disagree that all European culture belongs to everyone. I would not be okay with someone from Netherlands taking a part of my culture and calling it theirs. It’s strange that you say how folk tales were cultural commons that can be misused by anyone from anywhere, but a simple boat design is apparently not.

          I understand why some cultures might have a problem with so-called “cultural appropriation”. I know that the Maori don’t like to see people using their tattoos, and I can respect that. However, a line has to be drawn somewhere. I understand limiting the usage of things closely related to a people’s identity, but you don’t get to call everything your ancestors made as being your own intellectual property.

      • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

        Mainly because european folk tales are the culture of the europeans that settled the americas. Those are stories of our culture.

        • jonhanson

          Referring to Europe as one monolithic group is sort of strange to me. Most Americans came from English, Irish and German immigrants, and those cultures aren’t the same as Nordic, Eastern and Southern European cultures. It’s like using Asian as a catch-all, an easy short cut but I’d never want call a Chinese national Japanese, or vice versa.

          • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

            Look, I’m not trying to generalized here. But it wasn’t called The Great American Melting Pot for nothing.

        • Ravlic

          Except most Americans are not familiar with said culture because it does not concern them, and rightly so. Exactly what do Americans get to call their culture? The whole Europe? There are dozens or European countries all with their languages and traditions. An average American doesn’t see themselves as European nor are they familiar with their ancestors’ country’s history, but apparently they still have the rights to take the whole continent to themselves. I wouldn’t pretend that German culture is mine, but if you’re American, even if you have no idea where you came from or anything about your ancestry, that’s apparently okay. It’s Europe, it’s all the same culture so it’s within American right to take it all under some umbrella of heritage. But then, Americans do have this curious tendency to take their ancestry as meaning that they’re a member of said culture, despite never being in said country, nor knowing its language or in general being utterly unfamiliar with it and its intricacies.

          The Japanese have some pretty ridiculous interpretations of medieval Europe in anime and JRPGs. Is that okay too?

  • Tim Tran

    Is this why Disney refuses to make cultural films for a decade? Is this why they mash up San Fran and Tokyo?

    Some people just Don’t want their cultures being represented in media do they.

    • Fried

      No, they mash up San Fran and Tokyo because it was the original city in the existing property that Big Hero 6 was adapted from.

      In fact, Marvel are the ones who did that, not them.

      • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

        Lol, it’s an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation of a science fictional future story.

        • Fried

          More like an adaptation of a comic book that mashed up two cities to create a new one.

          Not sure where there are three “adaptations” in there, other than some weird attempt to be funny.

    • enochrox

      When you aren’t a part of the particular culture but you choose to represent it without the acknowledgment of those who you’re depicting… tempers flare & its not unreasonable. If a huge studio made a movie loosely or directly based on my and my family’s experience/history without my input I cant say I wouldn’t react similarly.

      But we don’t know the entire story from either angle thus far. Im a a huge fan of disney but they DO tend to stripmine whomever and whatever, often. If the organization/group is suing them then it shows that Disney definitely didn’t take the steps to go about this the right way.

      • Justin

        Your responses are GREAT!! Not lacking in anyway. I would have to agree with everything you’ve said so far.

      • Ravlic

        There’s a difference between using an individual’s life/ideas as inspiration and using a culture’s.

        • enochrox

          There’s also using that inspiration in a way that doesn’t disrespect the reference vs speaking on said inspiration with an unearned authority disregarding the thoughts/opinions of those youre referencing..

          • Ravlic

            Using a simple boat design is now “speaking on a culture with unearned authority”? Do you need a PhD to be able to use your eyes and see what kind of boats are used in a certain area?

  • Johnny

    Maybe they just don’t want a bunch of white Americans appropriating their culture to potentially make millions of dollars for themselves? You know like what Disney is currently doing with Chinese culture in Big Hero 6 under the guise of tired 80′s blade runneresque Japan.

    Of course they probably have no case but anytime there’s a chance a giant corporation can get bit on the ass is fine by me.

    • Honest_Miss

      So we can only ever tell stories representing the culture of the country the story came from? Wow, what a boring world we’re looking to live in.

      More than that, at what point to we decide who the source of the story is? The CEO? Or is it the hundreds and hundreds of diverse people who worked on it, built it, grew it, and eventually released it to the world?

      • Ravlic

        I think a lot of people talking about this forget that no culture developed through isolation. For thousands of years they were all taking things from each other that they found appealing and used them in new and different ways.

    • starss

      ….. where did you get Chinese in all this?? It’s Japanese-inspired.

    • http://www.doodlesinanimation.blogspot.com Annie T.

      Umm… first of all, Big Hero 6 owes a lot more to Japanese culture than Chinese culture. Secondly, it’s based on a Marvel comic. Thirdly, last time I checked, there are non-white people in the movie industry too, as well as those who are mixed. (Eg. me. I’m Irish/Yugoslavian/Miakan.)

  • http://sedonna.wix.com/claireamber Claire Amber

    These kinds of people really grind my gears. Hey! I think I’ll go sue Disney cuz the tree in the background looks like the tree in my backyard!

  • Exil de Champs

    That’s all they do at Disney all day, is find ways to not make their own stuff. Billions of dollars to rip off the real artists toiling in obscurity, piecemeal hack work that needs a corporation to hire slaves to do it. Thats all done in Korea now right? And on the computer too. I own a computer! Disney would never hire good artists, because its a corporation that helps control my idiot box and ruins the world and its somebodies fault.

    I wanna know the history of this evil Disney corporation idea. But that’s like a rabbit hole of mass cultural psychosis. I’ll know when I’m dead.

  • http://www.johnnyluu.co.uk Johnny Luu

    So CB did you get their permission to show that photo for comparison? I mean if you don’t give them a share of the advertising revenue this article has generated, you better get your lawyers on the phone!

  • ravlic

    Your comparison doesn’t work.
    Disney made a film set in that area. To achieve authenticity, they are using the traditional boat design. They did not take the design out of its cultural context just to make money with it.
    Which brings us to our next point, Disney is not selling the boat design. They are selling a movie, set in Fiji, in which the traditional Fiji boat is featured. The story, the animation, the art, the storyboards, the music, the voices, all of it was paid and made by a team. I’m pretty damn sure this does not compare to taking someone’s work and making money with said work.

    • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

      Disney would. That’s why you make reparations should you use someone else’s work even peripherally, in a movie. Studios do that all the time. Why shouldn’t they do it with an entire culture?

      • Ravlic

        Because you didn’t use one braincell to repeat a design that was made hundreds of years ago. You are asking for reparations based only on the fact that the person/people who made the design come from the same culture as you.

        • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

          I think you’re missing a couple of things here. First, have you ever made a boat? This sort thing is passed down thru the generations. It take quite a few brain cells.

          Secondly, even in this day and age, the Fijian culture is still unique. We (the west) haven’t seen a lot stories from this area of the world. But considering the atrocities to past cultures that have been perpetrated by exploitive corporations, and the general attitude of disposability that permeates present day western culture, you might understand why a small, unique culture might want to put the on brakes, and say whoa, is this good for us?

          • Ravlic

            You are wrong. Repeating something exactly as someone taught you is not innovation and it’s not creativity. It’s why you don’t get to patent anything when you make a house. Did you ever try to make a house? Do I really have to explain the bare basics of copyright on an animation blog?

            Fijian culture is a mishmash of surrounding influences with some unique aspects, just like any other culture. They’re not some super-special sacred culture just because they look more exotic, their culture is as valuable as any other. If they want to tell their stories, no-one is stopping them.
            I find the thinking that people need to answer for crimes they didn’t commit quite frankly very primitive. How are you being some slave-owner just by thinking your heartfelt story could be placed in some other culture? If you distort said culture, yeah, you should’ve done your research, but here people literally want money just because Disney tried to be authentic.

      • lavaflow

        It wont be long before Disney buys those islands to build resorts and totally changes the indigenous way of life, just as soon as they make all those billions from this movie.

    • jonhanson

      I’d be very surprised if Disney doesn’t end up selling toy versions of that boat at some point.

      • Ravlic

        If that’s what people have a problem with, then they should complain once the toy comes out, not when just one piece of concept art is out.

  • Honest_Miss

    The second claim is just silly. Once you’ve altered an image “enough” (which is a debate-able amount and just silly, I think it’s somewhere around “6-7 noticeable changes”) you aren’t breaking copyright.

  • Fried

    And you’re acting like the latter is not just as ridiculous. It’s like if Egyptians got mad that Despicable Me had pyramids in their movie.

    • enochrox

      if Despicable Me was an entire movie based around Egyptians building pyramids using techniques and knowledge passed down 1000s of years without consulting the actual Egyptians out there doing it currently? Then sure – but showing a cultural landmark for a few minutes as a gag is not the same. You know that.

      • mick

        I’d say we’d all like to see a film, animated or otherwise that showed us how they built the pyramids. It’s something of a mystery you know

        • Wejj

          I think Prince of Egypt touches on that

      • Fried

        I had no idea Moana had entire scenes where she explains how to construct those boats, and goes on a huge history lecture on her island.

        Do you have a copy of the screenplay? Is that how you know that’s going to play out?

        Or maybe she’s just going to ride around in a boat and encounter fantastical things. This isn’t a documentary, it’s a Disney film, you know that.

        Everything they do for study is purely for aesthetics, very rarely do they delve on any history of their locations other than “It’s really, really old”.

  • Fried

    Except the idea of copyrighting nature is absurd. If they want to do it for the boat, fine, but pointing out the mountain has the same creases as a real mountain, which they probably referenced, is trying to make something out of nothing.

  • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

    The use of photo reference in concept art is widely accepted and ridiculous to try and sue for compensation.

    However, despite the obvious prior art with the boats, they are unique to a culture. And a film by Disney is completely different than if this was an independent production that nobody would hear of until it was on the back shelves of a Blockbuster. Disney’s film carry such impact on so many cultures worldwide that there will undoubtedly be some ramifications felt by the Fijian culture. The Disney film will be the first exposure to the culture for most of the world.

    Not to mention Disney’s notoriety for IP control and exploitation. Why shouldn’t the Fijian culture benefit from Disney’s work when, clearly, Disney will benefit from the work of the Fijian’s. Disney films are juggernauts and make a huge impact that many of us don’t see.

    EDIT:
    “Why contemporary Fijian boat makers deserve compensation for a centuries-old boat design to which they have no authorship or ownership rights isn’t explained in the piece.”

    You do realize this is Disney we’re talking about here? The company that makes billions off public domain works only to make sure that no one else can do the same? Then creates laws that sew up thousands and thousands of public domain materials from be used by anyone else on the planet for a hundred years??

    Yeah, the Fijians deserve every penny they can squeeze out of the House of Mouse.

  • enochrox

    There has to be a list somewhere showing all the cease and desist claims Disney doles out every year… theyre very likely just as ridiculous. Only these boat makers dont have the best lawyers on the planet with the biggest budget on the planet either…

  • http://www.bluemonkeysfrommarz.com/ BlueMonkeysFromMarz.com

    Agreed. It’s a definitely a slippery slope. But if there’s an contingent of white people that want to exploit your culture for the purpose of profit, they should at least cut you in. Or hire you.

    I would love to see more culturally diverse Disney characters. But, yeah, let people of those cultures do the story telling.

    • Ravlic

      Disney is not a tourist agency, they’re a filmmaking company. If the people of those cultures want to do storytelling, they should make their own film.
      As it is, you’re asking them to hire someone based just on where they come from to write a screenplay instead of competent respectable screenwriters. And I’m guessing visual direction is also wrong if it’s done by white people? They need to get amateur artists to do the complex visual work that goes into a feature as well? Music too?
      Basically we get a film that will appeal to a small audience of a certain cultural background and probably be fairly unprofessional, but made with American money.

  • Sterling Sheehy

    Its a “concept” painting. Its not a product for sell. Its just an illustrated idea. Its the same thing.

  • Tony

    Knowing Disney, especially after Lasseter took over, they did all the research and hired experts and consultants to be as accurately as possible. Anyway, the movie is still two years away (I bet there’s no animation done yet), and all we have is one piece of concept art to go on, and we all know how much the final films deviate from the concept art. Best to have a wait and see approach.

  • Justin

    I can see them doing this so vividly.
    There were problems in Aladdin,Pocahontas, even Frog.

    • enochrox

      Everyone gives Disney a pass in this particular arena – but as soon as something comes out about salary caps, sweeping layoffs or ethics scandals/sexism in-house, which is something they can directly relate to; they turn into the “social justice warriors” they should be all the time.

  • Bernard

    You’ve seemingly miscomprehended what majority of people are saying. When its for profit esp from a conglomerate like Disney, people become angered. Disney change a few things here and there where they see fit to accommodate the main stream. You cant really pick and choose what will sell and what wont when the culture you are portraying isnt yours. Stay true through and through.

  • jonhanson

    If you accurately represent a culture in a film it’s cultural appropriation and bad.

    If you take creative liberties to avoid this sin it’s cultural mis-representation.

    Maybe Disney should stick to making movies about white people.

    • Ravlic

      A weird paradox created when political correctness goes out of control. You just can’t win.

  • Christian Z.

    When I first saw the canoe I thought that Jamba Juice was having their trademark swirl logo infringed upon.

  • Ravlic

    Surfboards? Really? Surfboards now count as cultural appropriation? So, can I be offended and ask for money every time someone uses or, heaven forbid, sells a necktie?

    • enochrox

      They’ve ALWAYS “counted”. The fact that you and droves of other people seem angry about it is the real issue here.

      • Ravlic

        Whoa there, fella. I admit I find this attitude brown-nosing, outdated and lacking any rational basis, but getting angry over it? How invested do you think I am in some surfboards?

        I’m still waiting for money for all those neckties. Now that I could get angry over.

  • Ravlic

    Japan and China are also Asian. If you happen to come from Asia, is Russian, Indian, Chinese etc. are those cultures all your heritage? Is it all the same culture? Because that’s the kind of logic used when people use “European culture” as a legitimate term.
    Japanese anime actually has some ridiculous mythical/fantasy interpretations of Christianity (and I’m not talking just about their nun fetish).

    So it’s only offensive if big companies do it? Do big companies need to be legally prevented from using elements of any culture that is not theirs? How successful do you have to be for your films to become offensive?
    I’m all for big greedy companies getting bit in the ass, but asking for money for an old boat design just because it was featured in a big-budget successful movie is just as greedy and frankly disrespectful to their culture. You are either offended, or you’re not. You don’t get to be half-offended and say that it’s okay to use the design, but only if your offense gets bribed out of you with money.
    They don’t object to the usage of the boat itself, they want compensation for a design they didn’t think of being featured in a successful movie. And just as I wouldn’t expect money off of someone’s work every time I see someone use a necktie, or a knight’s armor, neither should others.

  • http://www.annaliberty.com JTennor

    No, I’m comparing a photograph someone took of an island mountainside to a drawing of an island mountainside. I’m not referencing the boat issue at all.

  • mick

    they worry that this movie will add up to nothing more than a glittery little girls halloween costume and other types of merchandise that lacks any cultural significance.

    two words- the hunch back of notre dame (alright two words and another four)

  • Tim Hodge

    During production of “Mulan”, Disney was approached by Ping Golf Clubs, citing trademark infringement for using the name Ping. We were halfway through production at the time. Mulan’s assumed name had leaked out, and someone saw dollar signs.
    I don’t know if the suit was dropped, or settled out of court, but nothing every came of it. This will likely go away as well.

  • http://www.mountainbiketales.com Jd Cruise

    Uh oh, boggles the mind to imagine what Macy’s is going to have to say about Big Hero 6!

  • Fishbag

    In a perfect SJW world, all media and entertainment would be about grey squares with rounded edges.

    • http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com/ Cory Gross

      No, this isn’t entitled white SJW kids doing this. This is actual Fijians themselves, asserting their traditional rights. There is a difference.

  • Ravlic

    “I would love to see more culturally diverse Disney characters. But, yeah, let people of those cultures do the story telling.” Wants Disney film, but also native storytellers. Really not hard to put two and two together.
    Disney and similar big studios are asking for a very specific mix or creativity and skill (more of the latter). The result is easy to sell since it’s carefully made to appeal to a wide audience. This Hollywood fare has proven to be very successful across the globe and there are thousands of people in the US who know how to deliver it, so why would you look for writers elsewhere when you’re trying to deliver this kind of story that just happens to be set in a certain place, its location being completely irrelevant beyond that?
    I live in a fairly small country. Our attempts at making films that will have our flavor but appeal to wide market fail both due to lack of skill of our filmmakers (small country means no fulltime filmmakers, few schools for filmmaking and small numbers) and for its too culturally specific appeal. It’s not about your skin color, it’s about the culture and the likelyhood it’ll produce the worker you’re looking for. If your culture has already made a fulltime job and a competitive marketplace for scriptwriters, it seems ridiculous to look for them in smaller places that don’t have this if you want this specific product.

  • Ravlic

    It’s a boat with a triangle for a sail. Literally the only thing that makes it different from conventional boats is that it lacks one vertex.
    Its designers are long dead. Even their children are dead. No-one is left who contributed to making this design, ergo, no-one should profit from it.

    • enochrox

      If its such a simple design then it should be even more simple to change it. Theyre depicting a traditional boat by a specific group of people in a specific lication. Stop making excuses.

      • Ravlic

        You are the one who insisted that using a simple boat from one area is “speaking on a culture with unearned authority”. You should focus more on making logical arguments instead of solely appealing to emotion.
        And there is no reason to change it. It’s designers are all six feet underground now. Insisting that a simple design be limited just because some guys said so makes no sense.
        Not to mention, these guys didn’t ask for Disney to change the design. They’re asking for money for a design that they didn’t think of.

  • Ravlic

    Nah, only caucasians can steal other peoples’ cultures.

  • Ravlic

    And it’s not easy for anyone to make an original story in a big-budget production. There’s a reason why fairly generic fare gets made into big budget movies time and time again.
    Not to mention, it’s not a level-playing field if you’re expecting Americans to sell a film meant for Fijian audiences in their own country and worldwide. When you’re a small audience, you’re going to have to make a small film.

  • http://www.doodlesinanimation.blogspot.com Annie T.

    Still doesn’t beat the woman who sued Disney because she claimed Frozen ripped off her autobiography.

    • James VanDam

      That’s true LOL. People will find any reason to sue these days.

  • http://www.doodlesinanimation.blogspot.com Annie T.

    Why? Under the claims of American copyright law (which is the law applicable here), their claim isn’t particularly good. We don’t know who designed the boat in question, but it certainly wasn’t these people. It well passes the 1922 or earlier mark for public domain, and it wasn’t under American copyright to begin with. Should Disney have asked for permission? Maybe, but they shouldn’t be sued just because they’re trying to be accurate. To be honest, I’d be more offended if they made their own design and claimed it was the traditional boat.

    • enochrox

      Yeah… legalese is typically the best weapon against cultural appropriation going unchecked just to sell $13 tickets, $27 dvds and mountains of toys, childrens books, book bags, party plates and graphic bandaids nobody asked for nor needs. Correct.

    • enochrox

      They may not “OWN” the culture… but they cant be robbed of “BEING” their culture. But in copyright law, that doesnt amount to anything. Cheers.