Summit Entertainment Claims To Own The Date November 20, 2009; Issues Takedown On Art Created On That Day

from the hello-ip-fraud dept

Summit Entertainment, the movie studio behind the Twilight films, is no stranger to ridiculous-to-insane overreaches of intellectual property law. In fact, the studio seems to make a habit out of it. The company has sued Zazzle because some of its users made fan art inspired by Twilight. It’s shut down a Twilight fanzine. It’s said that only it can make a documentary about the real town where the fictional Twilight story is based. It’s sued to stop a fashion designer from factually stating that a character in one of the movies wore its jacket. It shut down a silly 8-bit YouTube game. It issued a takedown on a song that was written years before the Twilight movies. It went after Bath & Bodyworks for daring to to sell a body lotion called Twilight Woods, which had nothing to do with the movies. It aggressively sued a fan and pressed criminal charges for tweeting some behind the scenes photos of a Twilight movie. It also sued the guy who registered twilight.com back in 1994.

This is a company that thinks that the world revolves around its trademarks, and it appears to have little concern for what the law actually says.

Its latest move is particularly asinine. The company came across the following lovely image created by artist Kelly Howlett and posted to Zazzle, and issued a takedown.

If you’re thinking that image has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Twilight, or any other Summit property, you’re entirely correct. But it turns out that Summit Entertainment has decided it owns the date 11-20-09 (that’s Kelly’s Facebook explanation of what happened, found via Bleeding Cool), which was the date the sketch was created, and what it was tagged with. It also happens to be the date that the Twilight movie New Moon was released.

Summit has no legitimate claim here. At all. And yet it took the artwork down anyway, because that’s the kind of IP abusers they are.

Zazzle eventually came to its senses and restored the image, and Howlett is offering it on Society 6 as well. If Summit Entertainment had anyone with a soul working for them, they’d buy a few hundred prints to apologize.

Either way, the company has such a long and consistent history of abusing intellectual property law, isn’t there a point at which we just say that the company no longer deserves any such power? If you regularly abuse monopoly privileges, shouldn’t they be taken away?

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Companies: summit entertainment, zazzle

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Comments on “Summit Entertainment Claims To Own The Date November 20, 2009; Issues Takedown On Art Created On That Day”

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66 Comments
Hulser (profile) says:

Perhaps?

From the Zazzle “Content Review” notice…

“Perhaps your product contained search tags or descriptions that references elements from The Twighlight Saga, for example titles, character names, etc.”

Perhaps? So, Zazzle removed content based on a claim and there isn’t even an explanation as to what is infringing? Shouldn’t this be a mandatory part of any takedown request? Unless you’re a Twilight fan — and I hope you’re not — how in the world would you connect that particular date with anything owned by Summit Entertainment?

timmaguire42 says:

Re: Re: Perhaps?

Bingo! It all goes back (as so much of this crap does) to the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions.

All of the incentives are on the side of “take it down,” there are no incentives at all for getting it right.

Why would any online company spend extra time and resources investigating the claims in the take down notice when the only possible outcomes are:

1. They increase their risk of getting sued; or

2. They take down the material.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not "steak"

I seem to recall reading (perhaps in a Wiki?) that one of the traditional methods used to dispatch a traditional vampire was to pass a stake through the cardiac region of said vampire’s thorax. Perhaps this method, applied to the apparent vampires that run Summit Entertainment, would encourage them to climb back into their coffins and trouble us no more. For a while.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

Wait, what?

Let me get this straight. A movie studio that created a fangirl-oriented film based on a fangirl-oriented book series written by an author that never used the words “sexual intercourse” is actually trying to take down anything that involves that teenage girl paranormal romanticism bullcrap or that has the name “Twilight?”

What’s next, they sue My Little Pony for Twilight Sparkle because it’s a combination of their movie franchise’s name and what overly emo vampires do in sunlight?

Someone bring back scummy politicians again. At least they won’t eradicate braincells…

Wait, no! I take it back!

fogbugzd (profile) says:

There is effectively no penalty for false takedowns. If in doubt, or if it would take any effort to check the facts, then it is easier to just issue the takedown. An entire cottage industry has grown up with businesses created for the sole purpose of issuing takedowns for IP holders. These companies get paid and impress their masters by issuing takedowns in bulk; there is no incentive to avoid bad takedowns.

Rights holders should recognize that the takedowns are not helping their cause. Takedowns do not produce a penny of revenue. They only look good in internal performance reports. Rights holders could make the problem of DCMA abuse go away if they only issued notices for major infringement, such as posting a full copy of the movie. Stockholders would be better served if most of the cases of “infringement” were treated as marketing opportunities rather than kills on monthly reports.

Ridiculous and bogus takedowns are only fueling the demand to apply penalties to false DCMA, copyright, and trademark claims. The IP rights holders could derail that whole movement by just making responsible DCMA claims.

Dixon Steele (profile) says:

A note from Summit Entertainment

It is now also expressly forbidden to take photos within an hour of either sunrise or sunset, or within the first two days of a lunar month.
Also forbidden: photos or drawings of people who may be thinking about the Twilight films, or any elements thereof, including (but not limited to) vampires, werewolves, the concept of sparkling, unrequited love, destiny, improvised caesareans, requited love, uncomfortable subtext, and melodrama.
We feel this is an entirely reasonable interpretation of our rights.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

The positioning of this post just above the lawsuit against Samsung and RIM about emoticons/smilies is just a wonderful summary about what’s wrong with IP laws these days and Hollywood’s sense of entitlement surrounding them. To the extent that one of their number thinks it can claim ownership on a date!

Give the *AA’s a couple more years and there won’t be a public domain left. Or a calendar!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yep. You stole their intellectual property. That’ll cost you $150,000. Unless they can convince the judge that the two stick figures are seperate cases of infringement, then it’d be $300,000.
Of course, you might be able to successfully argue that you didn’t intentionally infringe on their copyright. Then it’d only cost you $30,000. (Or $60,000.)

ECA (profile) says:

I HAVE A SOLUTION..

MAny people that are sue/processed..
tend to NOT know their rights, or have much money to Fight back..

Lets deal with this problem…
IF the company that is SUING, LOOSES…THEY OWE the same amount to the person/company BEING SUE’D..

I could really, SEE, the RIAA/MPAA lowering the amounts, majorly. because if they LOOSE…they LOOSE the amounts Sue’d for..
======================
Also,
Dont you think that Twilight would be making more money, IF’ they wernt paying the LAWYERS?? or are they doing this OUT OF HAND, where they foot the costs and if they WIN, they keep the money..(Twilight gets nothing)
wouldnt that be Against the law?

Anonymous Coward says:

1.Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight Twilight
Fucking sucks.

2.Summit needs to go choke on something.

3.They will probably come after me for just typing twilight on here.

4.Did I mention twilight fucking sucks lawl..

5.Also twilight fucking sucks.

6.I have no clue how Kristen Stewart got into acting with the same monotone voice in every single thing. Plus twilight fucking sucks.

If anyone thinks I’m trolling well I am but it’s directed at Summit.

Anonymous Coward says:

” If you regularly abuse monopoly privileges, shouldn’t they be taken away?”

You wish.

Did you spank off when you wrote that? I suspect this is your true fantasy, the ability to randomly, based on your own criteria, to decide who does and does not merit something.

You make HADOPI look totally democratic!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I do hope this is sarcastic, if not I am going to have to completely redo my moron scale because you just busted out the bottom.

But just in case:
” I suspect this is your true fantasy, the ability to randomly, based on your own criteria, to decide who does and does not merit something.”

No I will design a bot to do it for me so it’s fair…

Pjerky (profile) says:

They Don't Deserve any Trademark/Patent/Copyright Rights

This is insane and another example of one of the biggest failings of the law around trademarks, patents, and copyrights. There are no significant punishments for tyrants such as Summit Entertainment. The punishment should be graded into levels.

– First abuse offense should result in a warning (because people and companies make mistakes, all of us know that).

– The second should be a fine of $10,000.

– The third should be fine of $500,000.

– The fourth should be a temporary block on all legal action from the company lasting a minimum of 6 months as well as a fine of $10 million.

– The fifth should be a fine of $250 million, a 2 year ban on legal action from the company, and a 2 year disbarment of all the involved lawyers and law firms from the legal action end.

– Finally the sixth should be a fine of $500 million, a complete forfeiture of all trademarks, patents, and copyrights currently owned by the company/individual, AND permanent disbarment of all the lawyers involved.

The idea is to make them absolutely radioactive to continue to do business with as a lawyer or legal institution and to prevent others from doing the same thing in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

“But here’s the problem… I doubt that anyone at Summit Entertainment even saw my image. I’m sure they just have a bot trolling Google Marketplace to issue threats. All these anti-piracy laws are scaring me because it’s just assumed that these companies are right, and if not, their army of lawyers can certainly outlast my bank account. If someone like Summit wanted to claim my artwork was infringing their intellectual property simply because it was created the same day as the release date of a movie… I couldn’t fight it if I wanted to. I’m hating the idea of a company being able to call up my website host and have my content removed simply because they objected to it.”

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think it would be better if all their targets got together and had their entire legal team and all their executives whacked. And not in a quick and painless way, either. No, I’m talking about the naked, upside-down crucifixions slowly lowered into huge vats of boiling oil, with the victims controlling the rate of descent. George Carlin once suggested that as an appropriate sentence for the money-laundering banksters who have ruined the country, so I think it is entirely appropriate for these subhuman sacks of monkey shit. I will make sure the oil is just hot enough to burst their skins on contact, but not too hot to char it. No, they need to suffer.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

gee, where did Mad (copy)Max go ? ? ?

notice that slimeball (*obviously* a lawyer) is nowhere to be found on stories like this…
hee hee hee
not that it matters…
ho ho ho
he simply talks past the salient, cogent points…
ha ha ha
“blah blah blah pirate freetards are insulting me, dimwitted assnoses…”
“blah blah blah entitled gatekeepers are entitled…”
(insert endless litany of circular ‘logic’ here)
ak ak ak
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Michael says:

Control Freak: using copyright/IP/patents to monopolize content/ideas and dictate what others are allowed to do.

News flash — Summit Entertainment doesn’t own the word ‘twilight.’ Using their own control freak mentality against them, they shouldn’t be allowed to utilize: colors, the moon, trees/forests, humans and vampires, mist, day/night, any form of living quarter (e.g. houses, manors, cabins, et al.), clothing, music, cameras, oxygen, wind and elements, nor anything else they themselves didn’t create in order to make their ‘motion picture’ (which, again, is not their idea to be used for profit).

Davey says:

How to contact Summit's copyright agent

From the TOS on their web site:

Summit’s Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright or other intellectual property infringement can be reached as follows:

By e-mail: copyrightagent@summit-ent.com (with subject “Copyright Complaints”);

By phone: (310) 309-8400 (ask for General Counsel?s Office);

By postal mail:

Summit Entertainment, LLC
1601 Cloverfield Boulevard
Suite 200, South Tower
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Attn: General Counsel ? DMCA Agent
(with subject “Copyright Complaints”)

I’m willing to send them a letter regarding “copyright complaints”!

John85851 (profile) says:

Why not?

Like other people are saying, if there’s no penalty for a false takedown notice, why not send out as many as possible.
Unfortunately, too many content providers will simply take down “offending” material so the copyright holder won’t take the next step and sue. Yes, everyone knows the copyright holder doesn’t have any legal ground to stand on, but as usual, it takes time and money to fight these issues. And as we should expect, sites like Zazzle probably aren’t going to spend their money defending a user, even if the copyright holder is 100% wrong.

hmm (profile) says:

give it away!

I say we GIVE them the entire day to own in it’s entirety.

On an unrelated note, if anyone had an accident, or a favorite pet died, or they lost their job / ate a particularly bad sandwich (etc) on November 20,2009 then I heartily recommend suing the living hell out of Summit and their crappy franchise.

If several thousand of us ALL do this we can bankrupt them within 6months easy……

Nile says:

Owning the date? That's so Yesterday.

How is this News? How is this even surprising?

They are wealthy and powerful and they have an unlimited legal budget, and you’re nobody.

Enforcing your obedience to your betters is what the courts are *for*.

Get over it. They can buy the whole of Congress and the Senate if the law doesn’t work as it’s intended to.

And it’s not like anyone’s actually going to vote for a politician who’s against personal enrichment and campain funds: there aren’t any. At least, none who matter.

Meanwhile, look for your freedoms elsewhere… And don’t test them in London this year by starting a business or publishing an image or running an event with ‘2012’ in or on it: not only can you be sued into oblivion, but warrantless raids by orivate contractors have been authorised to secure all infringeing material. ‘Authorised’ as in as in: this is the law and the Police will intervene, on request, to beat down resistance and obstruction.

…Oh, and the owner of any property so raided is legally ibliged to reimburse the costs.

Owning the date? That’s so Yesterday.

Someone owns everything you say that intersects a published quote, and probably your genes, your name, and the sound of your breathing. You are infringeing their copyright by existing. And if you can prove that you don’t, you can still go bankrupt defending your ‘rights’ at law.

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