Many terrible things have happened this year. So much of this year has been so awful and at such a scale that our sense of outrage can be distorted by the volume of it. Arguably the mendacious behaviour of the Disney corporation is a very minor entry in the log of shitty things people have done to other people (or stood by and let happen) this year. That doesn’t stop it being fundamentally awful though.
If you aren’t already aware, in the various acquisitions of media companies Disney has made over the past few years, they have acquired the rights to many books such as novelizations of notable films. Many of these are books written by veteran sci-fi writer Alan Dean Foster. For many people, his novel versions of sci-fi films where the only way to engage or re-engage with beloved films prior to the era of internet streaming services.
Disney have not only been refusing to pay royalties on these works but have advanced an extraordinary claim regarding copyright. Essentially that as the licence for these works had been sold to them, that they no longer have to compensate the author (who did not gain anything from the sale).
The SFWA has taken up the case and has coverage here https://www.sfwa.org/2020/11/18/disney-must-pay/ There is also coverage at File 770 here http://file770.com/the-disneymustpay-alan-dean-foster-and-sfwa-joint-press-conference/
Disney has been both infamously litigious around protecting it’s own IP and also has aggressively lobbied for changes in copyright law to try and maintain control over material that should have passed into the public domain.
As I said in the opening paragraph, there are certainly worse things people are doing to other people but there is a petty and mendacious quality to Disney’s behaviour here that epitomises the disdain for others that characterises the bully as a character.