Audio Commentaries: What's the purpose of a disclaimer?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Miller, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    I find the legal disclaimer at the beginning of "Romeo+Juliet: SE" hilarious. I know this is not the first DVD to do this, but what is the purpose of this?
    "The opinions expressed on this commentary are solely those of the filmakers and do not represent the views of the studio."
    That's a paraphrase from what I remember. Can any of you shed light on what a disclaimer legally does? Does it mean if I disagree or am offended by something Baz Lurhman says on the commentary, the disclaimer holds Baz accountable but not Fox. Or, if Baz says something that is taken out of context, does the disclaimer deter him from suing Fox?
    I know we live in a lawsuit happy world, but I just don't understand what litigation the studios are trying to prevent. Where's the liability?
    Peace,
    DM
     
  2. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Because an 'average' listner may take offense to what that commentator is saying, and then the studio could be liable, if not for the disclaimer.

    But I guess the commentator is on is own. Pretty much, free will speaking, but I'm not sure if someone can sue a commentator for his remarks or comments
     
  3. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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  4. Christopher_S

    Christopher_S Stunt Coordinator

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    It may be practical, but I think it's brilliant. The first time I heard it was before Walt Disney's pieced-together soundbites for Snow White. It gives the commentary an extra authority, almost. Like, "If the studio won't endorse the remarks, there must be some REAL juice here." Not that there is, and not that this is the reason for the disclaimer, but has anyone else had a similar reaction?
     
  5. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Ok, but I still don't see why there is a need for the disclaimer. No disclaimer will prevent anyone from suing anyone else. So the issue has to be minimizing litigation that might arise from the views expressed.
    BUT, I don't see a disclaimer at the beginning of "The Factor" on Fox News. If a studio is worried about people suing based on views that are expressed, why is the medium of DVD singled out?
     
  6. Tony Pantoliano

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    Cubby Broccoli objected to certain comments that were made on the "Dr. No" audio track, (personally, I don’t think he had any legal stand, but Criterion did it just to appease him; they probably felt they wouldn’t be allowed access to the remained of the Bond library if they fought him on this), which resulted in the discs being discontinued shortly after their release - only the CAV Criterion laserdiscs (the CLV versions didn’t have the commentary track) were affected.
    This is from memory; the facts cited may only bear a resemblance to actual facts. [​IMG]
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Christopher - So disclaimers come from Marketing instead of Legal? [​IMG]
    Tony - you said:
     
  8. Tony Pantoliano

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    “It” means that they simply discontinued the disc, and never re-released them without the commentary track, as far as I know. I don’t remember the specifics (i.e. lawsuits), this was over 10-years ago, and my memory isn’t what it used to be. [​IMG] Maybe someone else can provide you with all the detailed information.
    Because of the James Bond incident (et. al.) I’ve always tried to make my laserdisc purchases within a week or two of being released – I continue this practice today with DVDs. Doing this has netted me some real gems, then again, I’ve also assembled quite a lot of duds as well!
     
  9. Jeremy

    Jeremy Stunt Coordinator

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    I seem to remember that "Cubby" found the commentaries a little unflattering to Roger Moore. See this page for an open letter that was written to him after he asked MGM/UA to pull the rights from Criterion.
     
  10. David Prior

    David Prior Insider
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    As silly as it is, the fact that studios are willing now to use disclaimers is actually a Godsend. It means that the often inane objections raised by studio legal departments are that much easier to circumvent. That is always the ground that toughest battles are fought over. If Pat Buchanan knew the amount of (mostly groundless) self-censorship that goes on in Hollywood studios, he'd be delighted.

    So be grateful for disclaimers.

    Best,

    David Prior
     
  11. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    Yeah, I love the Disney ones. "The opinions expressed in the commentary track are not those of the Walt Disney Co. since it has now become a faceless, money-grubbing corporation willing to release substandard product in order to relieve you of your money. They are just those of the founder. Pay no attention to them. Oh...and go buy one of our lousy direct-to-video sequels to our movies while you're at it."
     
  12. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Good point David. I hadn't really thought of that.

    Peace,

    DM
     

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