The value of reuse rights has been on our minds lately at The Scholarly Kitchen. While the reuse of research data and methodologies seems of obvious benefit, questions still remain about the value of reuse rights to the actual books and articles that describe research discoveries. It’s hard to find concrete examples of CC BY licensed scholarly articles being re-purposed to the community’s benefit, and Martin Paul Eve wrote this week about some of the downsides.

All of which came to mind when I came across the video below, chronicling the long history of Disney Studios recycling pieces of animation over and over again in their films. While the idea was to save time and to copy something quickly rather than drawing something anew, animator Floyd Norman notes that it probably didn’t result in any savings and was more trouble than just animating a new scene.

There’s a really interesting lesson in here about technology and the changing nature of how media is consumed. Disney could get away with blatantly ripping itself off because at the time, movies came out years apart and no one would ever have the ability to look at two films side by side. Then came home video, and worse, YouTube. Computer animation has made this no longer necessary, but it remains an interesting piece of film history. I’m not sure if there’s a metaphor here for reuse of the scholarly literature though.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "Reuse Rights: Disney’s History of Recycling Animation"

Thanks for this entertainment, David. While Disney could keep reuse within the company, with CC BY surely anyone can reuse any and all content for whatever purpose as long as it is properly attributed,

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