A bunch of college students has been told they can't gather together as a Disney fan group to watch Disney films- of which (as noted) they are big fans. Why? Because allegedly any showing of a DVD (bought at a store with money that went back to Disney, mind you) to a "large" group of people is copyright infringement. To show to a "large" group of people you need to secure a "display license", which is not what you get when you "buy" a DVD. What number of people in a gathering is the tipping point? 10? 20? 50? If you have 49 it's OK, but that 50th person gets you nasty letters from the legal department of a giant multinational conglomerate receiving tax dollars as subsidies? What if that 50th person sits in the hallway? The sheer stupidity of this is mind boggling. It's intellectually bankrupt and it's business suicide.
This is why the old models of the entertainment business are dying and will die. Like a slow lingering illness that eats away from the inside it may take a while, but it's a done deal. The death rattle can be heard down the hall. The only way to keep the old business model alive in a world where people can get content pretty much for free is to punish your fans. And those fans are your customers. I wonder how many thousands of dollars in Disney merchandise those college kids have bought collectively? How many trips to a Disney theme park have they taken- or planned to take? No, they may not be paying the proper license fee to watch a DVD as a group, but they're Disney fans. Logically who else would gather as a group to watch? So this action by Disney has no intended target other than the very people they should be catering to. Instead they're bullying them. There's no doubt Disney has made tons of cash from these kids over the years. This, my friends, is terrible customer service. As a businessman there's one thing I learned and it's this: the very air of life for your business is your customer service. You can even have an inferior product or product at a lower price point and still thrive if you have amazing customer service. Old media systems must rely on lawsuits, coercion, threats and cease & desist orders in order to survive. Not a one of those methods gives the fan (who in one way or another is a paying customer) the warm fuzzies about your company or its products.
There's an old, old law in the Bible. It's not followed in today's society at all, but there's a principle of fairness behind it. It's the law of gleanings. Basically God said to the people : Don't go back over your fields a second or third time to gather every last bit of grain that you may have missed or dropped. Leave it for the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden. Don't be a greedy jerk and squeeze people for pennies. Be gracious and generous and things will go well for you.
Disney's squeezing people for pennies after they've already milked them for countless hundreds or thousands. My prediction: things will not go well for them.