Shrek - Character Rights?

DonRoeber

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
1,849
Was watching Shrek with some friends last night, and the question arose about rights to some of the fairy tale characters. I'm not at all familiar with who owns the rights to what, but I figured that Disney owns the rights to Snow White, Cinderella, and Pinochio. All of these characters were used, and abused, in the film. Did Disney let Dreamworks use the characters (they're even shown in traditional disney garb), or are the characters in the public domain?
Just curious.
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Donald Roeber
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TheLongshot

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May 12, 2000
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Real Name
Jason
Those stories are all older than Disney and are in the public domain. The only issue Disney could have with the film would be if the characters looked too much like the Disney versions, which they don't.
Jason
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Sean Mangan

Auditioning
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Aug 26, 1998
Messages
2
It is my understanding that Dreamworks invited the Disney Lawyers to a preview screening, just to cover their butts.
 

Scott Weinberg

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Oct 3, 2000
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It is my understanding that Dreamworks invited the Disney Lawyers to a preview screening, just to cover their butts.
That is correct.
The very fact that people would assume these are "Disney" characters is part of the reason Shrek is so clever. The Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Snow White, The Three Blind Mice, The Big Bad Wolf, The Gingerbread Man and Fairy Godmothers have been around a lot longer than the Disney machine has.
Yes, the Disney versions of these fairy tales are uniformly fantastic, but let's not mistake a quality adaptation for original source material.
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Scott Weinberg
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