This excerpt taken from the DIS 10-K filed Dec 7, 2005.
Competition and Intellectual Property Protection
The success of Studio Entertainment operations is heavily dependent upon public taste and preferences. In addition, Studio Entertainment operating results fluctuate due to the timing and performance of releases in the theatrical, home entertainment and television markets. Release dates are determined by several factors, including competition and the timing of vacation and holiday periods.
The Studio Entertainment businesses compete with all forms of entertainment. A significant number of companies produce and/or distribute theatrical and television films, exploit products in the home entertainment market, provide pay television programming services and sponsor live theater. We also compete to obtain creative and performing talents, story properties, advertiser support, broadcast rights and market share, which are essential to the success of our Studio Entertainment businesses.
The Companys ability to exploit and protect rights in its content, including its motion pictures, television programs and sound recordings, is affected by the strength and effectiveness of intellectual property laws in the United States and abroad. Inadequate laws or enforcement mechanisms to protect intellectual property in a country can adversely affect the results of the Companys operations, despite the Companys strong efforts to protect its intellectual property rights throughout the world. In addition, some technological advances, such as peer-to-peer technology and some features of digital video recorders, and other factors have made infringement easier and faster and enforcement more challenging. Therefore, the Company devotes significant resources to protecting its intellectual property against unauthorized use in the United States and foreign markets.
The Companys businesses are also subject to the risk of challenges by third parties claiming infringement of their proprietary rights. Regardless of their validity, such claims may result in substantial costs and diversion of resources, which could have an adverse effect on the Company.
See further discussion under Consumer Products Competition, Seasonality and Intellectual Property Protection below.