Disney Grapples With Light-Side/Dark-Side, Retracts Toy DMCA, Resubmits It, Is Probably Our Father, Aaaah!

from the toy-story dept

It’s a struggle that Disney ought to know quite well, having taken over the Star Wars franchise. The struggle between good and evil; the light side of the force… and the dark side. And it looks like we’re all getting a front row seat to the internal strife of Disney via the ongoing silliness surrounding the image of a Star Wars toy accidentally released to the public by a retailer.

If you recall, our original post detailed how Disney was apparently abusing the DMCA process to take down the photographs of Justin Kozisek, contributor to Star Wars Action News. The photographs were of a toy that was in and of itself something of a spoiler due to the outfit the character is wearing. Pretty much everyone speculated that Disney was using the DMCA process to avoid the spoiler reaching audiences before the release of the latest film, which is, of course, not what the DMCA process is for. Also, most people were happy to agree that claiming copyright on images of a legally purchased retail item was Jar Jar Binks level absurdity. Well, Marjorie Carvalho, who runs Star Wars Action News, tried to reach out to Disney to see what was going on.

She wrote a polite e-mail to the Disney company e-mail address listed in her DMCA notice, explaining exactly what happened. While Carvalho didn’t get a direct reply, her message seemed to have worked. Last night her account got a late e-mail from Facebook stating that “The Walt Disney Company has retracted their intellectual property report.”

“All we did was write a letter, and a few hours later, it was retracted,” she said in an interview with Ars this morning, pleased with the result. “It pays to take the high road and get your facts in order, rather than overreacting. I feel good about it, and it’s nice that they’re recognizing they made a mistake.”

The light side jedi is humble and knows the best course of action when he or she is at peace. Carvalho’s email must have had a tranquilizing effect on Disney, allowing it to turn away from the darkness. Much as Vader rendered himself useful for thirty seconds by tossing Emperor White Raisin or whatever his name was down a galactic laundry chute that for some reason had been installed in an Emperor’s throne room, Disney realized its error and became good again.

For about an hour or so. The dark side is tempting, after all. According to the Ars Technica article linked above:

Not 10 minutes after getting off the phone today, Carvalho informed Ars that the image was taken down again. Disney sent an identical DMCA notice.

“For reasons we can’t understand—Disney has now RESUBMITTED the claim, again removing the pictures (that they restored this morning),” she told her followers on Facebook.

This time, Facebook removed the entire post, not just the photo. It also administered a punishment to Kozisek, banning him from posting on the site for three days.


Yes, with the kind of speed that would impress a tie fighter pilot, Disney went from pulling the DMCA takedown to re-submitting it. Meanwhile, as Disney goes through this phase of self-discovery, images of the toy that it had hoped to censor exist roughly everywhere anyway, including in the reporting that has been done on this whole stupid episode. In other words, the only thing that Disney has managed to accomplish throughout this whole thing is to look bumbling and silly, and to Streisand Effect news about the toy all over the internet.

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Companies: disney, facebook

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Comments on “Disney Grapples With Light-Side/Dark-Side, Retracts Toy DMCA, Resubmits It, Is Probably Our Father, Aaaah!”

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31 Comments
rorybaust (profile) says:

Disney has managed to accomplish throughout this whole thing is to look bumbling and silly

Actually the one thing they did do is to get an innocent fan punished a fan that actually stood up and defended the indefensible , and they wonder why people have no respect , plus they handled this in such hamfisted way as I had a copy of the alleged offending picture posted to my Facebook and hate F$$king Star Wars and it was not removed .

David says:

Re: Disney has managed to accomplish throughout this whole thing is to look bumbling and silly

plus they handled this in such hamfisted way as I had a copy of the alleged offending picture posted to my Facebook and hate F$$king Star Wars and it was not removed.

You have to hand it to them: that one was one ingenious advertising campaign. Now that it’s every citizen’s duty to put the spoiler brat on display, people will wonder what it is all about and go to the movie.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, asking for a boycott of a company’s product because their legal department are assholes is not going to leave you with a lot of of companies to purchase from. Plus, the toys and movies are going to have been produced by totally different parts of the corporation, so you’re calling for the wrong boycott. Even if people would listen to such a suggestion based on such obvious news as “Disney lawyers are dicks”, almost everyone going on opening weekend pre-ordered their tickets weeks ago.

Next time, at least call for a boycott of the toys or a write-in campaign before everyone’s already paid their money.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: "You're still up? Let me fix that for you."

It looks like a deliberate punishment to me. Challenge our DMCA notice? We will pull and repost it to bump your violation count and get you suspended.

I can’t imagine a clearer message that Disney feels challenging their DMCA notices is unacceptable. “Right or wrong, it’s our way or suspension.”

JustMe (profile) says:

Re: A/C that isn't going to read this anyway

A) It isn’t a copyright issue. You cannot own copyright on an image you didn’t take of a toy that you are (or will be) selling. Right of First Sale says the owner can do whatever the heck they want with the thing, including taking pictures and posting them.
B) There is no “law” being enforced by Disney here. At best it is analogous to an embargo’d image, which is an agreement and not a law.
C) There was a law broken, but Disney did it by using the DMCA process (twice!).

Anonymous Loser hates it when facts get in the way of his pitiful lurker existence. Bwaak!

David says:

File a counter claim with Facebook.

First, that notifies Facebook that the product is bought by you, picture it taken by you, and is your copyright (unless you’re a monkey). Facebook should put the photo back up. That satisfies the stupid auto-DCMA nonsense.

Then Disney’s legal recourse is to be super douches, and actually file a lawsuit against said fan. Then we’ll see if they really have gone to the Dark Side.

Never ascribe to malice, what can be attributed to stupidity. And the DCMA allows for a lot of stupidity.

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