Disney Takes Brutal Action Against Artificial Intelligence

in Disney, Movies & TV

A man giving a speech at a podium with the "D23 Expo" logo, under a spotlight on a dark stage, discussing Disney’s advancements in artificial intelligence.

Credit: nagi usano on Wikimedia

Disney has taken bold action against the growing use of artificial intelligence, forcing a company to take the legal blow amid an increasingly concerning trend.

The Walt Disney Company is celebrating 100 years of creating wonderful stories and bringing magic to life through its growing portfolio of studios — including Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and 20th Century Studios — from classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1935) — which continues to spark polemic with its upcoming live-action remake led by Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot — to Disney’s Wish (2023), set to bring the Disney100 celebrations to the silver screen.

Rachel Zegler as Snow White in Disney's live-action version of Snow White
Credit: Disney

Related: Rachel Zegler’s ‘Snow White’ Sparks Conversation With Latest Viral Leak

Disney’s latest releases have faced backlash and been harshly criticized by netizens. Wish is the most recent example, triggering a massive hate campaign online and causing fans to claim that the company was “officially dead.” Regardless, Disney’s Wish has received critical acclaim and could surprise audiences following its premiere on November 22.

Unfortunately, Disney’s magic and wonder can’t protect the company from all its problems.

Asha from Disney's 'Wish' standing in front of a door
Credit: Disney

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Earlier this month, Inside the Magic reported on a sexually suggestive show featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and their friends, sparking outrage online, triggering comments on how the content was inappropriate for young audiences and how an international company was misusing the image of the beloved Disney characters. Sadly, the problems didn’t stop there.

Mickey Mouse character meet and greet at Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought a series of problems for The Walt Disney Company, with the company facing significant backlash over the alleged “hidden” use of AI in the latest installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) presented as Disney+ original series — Loki (2021-2023) and Secret Invasion (2023) — as well as the not-so-hidden use of artificial intelligence in the Disney+ original movie, Prom Pact (2023), which horrified viewers with the imagery used in the original film and concerned experts over the possibility of AI replacing actors in the future.

The growing — and increasingly concerning — use of AI even caused actor Bret Iwan, who voices the iconic Mickey Mouse, to come forward and share his stance on the use of this technology and the possibility that it could eventually replace actors in playing Mickey Mouse and other beloved Disney characters.

Nervous Mickey Mouse from the mickey mouse shorts
Credit: Disney

Related: Mickey Mouse To Celebrate His Final Birthday

Additionally, with the recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes heavily impacting Hollywood, the conversation surrounding the use of AI in the entertainment industry quickly grew, particularly after a major studio allegedly embraced the use of artificial intelligence amid the controversy.

Now, AI has cornered The Walt Disney Company, forcing it to take brutal action against the use of the technology.

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties
Credit: Disney

Recently, Disney fans worldwide jumped on a viral trend creating fake movie posters featuring their pets — among other things — inspired by the style of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Studios movies with an uncanny resemblance to the company’s creations.

The trend quickly gained traction and, inevitably, the attention of The Walt Disney Company, which, in a bold move, demanded that Microsoft modify its Bing Image Creator, as the artificial intelligence tool misused Disney’s intellectual property, infringing trademarks and copyrights.

Microsoft’s artificial intelligence tool initially blocked the term “Disney” from being entered into the image generator, informing users that the prompt was against its policies. However, the tool was later updated to allow the term while altering the logos of The Walt Disney Company and Pixar by changing letters or blurring characters to avoid infringing copyright and trademark laws while maintaining a recognizable image of the logos, likely leaving Disney’s concerns unresolved.

pixar characters with the logo
Credit: Pixar Studios

A recent report from the Financial Times revealed that Microsoft pledged to assume legal responsibility for any commercial customers using its software who face complaints of breach of copyright due to material generated by its AI products. Other major technological and creative firms using generative AI, including Adobe and OpenAI, have offered similar protections.

It is unclear if Disney will continue to crack down on the use of its intellectual property and image by artificial intelligence tools, as the report stated that the company had declined to comment on the subject.

Cast Member dressed as Mickey Mouse at a Disney Park
Credit: Disney

Disney is highly protective of its characters and their image, which has been shown with strict censoring measures allegedly imposed upon a TikTok creator and another creator fearing for his content after being contacted by the company. Additionally, The Walt Disney Company banned a couple of Kissimmee-based business owners from Disney World earlier this year following a scandalous lawsuit over trademark and copyright infringement.

While artificial intelligence is a massive technological advancement that could boost the growth of multiple industries, its use could pose a growing threat to the entertainment industry.

Have you jumped on the trend of Disney and Pixar-inspired posters using artificial intelligence? What do you think about the use of this technology? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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