Media behemoth Disney, known for obstreperous litigation and lobbying for over-extension of copyright expiration, among other legal issues, played hardball in late summer against the show recently retitled “At The Movies With Ebert And Roeper” (formerly “Ebert and Roeper”). The THUMBS (which are capitalized to qualify for trademark protection) are owned by Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel’s successors, and while Ebert was under the impression a fair price for their continued use was under negotiation, Disney summarily pulled their use from the program, leading to an unattractive public digital spat. “I did not demand the removal of the THUMBS,” the recovering critic responded. “They made a first offer… which I considered offensively low. I responded with a counter-offer. They did not reply to this, and… ordered the THUMBS removed from the show.” At press time, twiddling persists.
Best of Chicago 2007