Dune's New Logo Started Disappearing From Twitter Due To Copyright Claims, But No One Is Quite Sure Why

from the it's-a-logo-people dept

Late last week, Boing Boing reported that after the logo for Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune movie that people have been obsessing over for decades (well, the idea of a new Dune movie, not Villeneuve’s version in particular), some people posted some photos of the launch event, showing a stage with an image and the logo behind whoever it is on stage. It looked something like this:

People seem very, very opinionated about the logo — in both good and bad ways. At the very least, it generated a lot of discussion. However, people started to notice that many of the Twitter accounts that posted the image had had it pulled down due to a DMCA takedown. And suddenly a bunch of Twitter accounts were looking like this:

It even got so crazy that one guy tried to recreate the logo from scratch to try to avoid a DMCA:

That said, I can find a bunch of accounts showing the logo now (and a bunch more making parody/memes out of the background image and a similar font). However, what remains unclear is who is actually taking down the logo and under what basis. Many have assumed that it’s Legendary Entertainment, which produced the film, and/or Warner Bros., which is handling distribution. Still others have argued that it could be the Australian photographer, Leah Kennedy, whose otherworldly aerial image of sand dunes in Namibia appears to be the basis for the background in the original screenshot shown.

What’s even less clear is under what basis there would be to take down such an image. Yes, it’s possible that Warner/Legendary had a promotional plan that wasn’t set to launch just yet, but that’s not a legitimate reason to abuse copyright law to take down what are clearly fair use images of the logo in action. It’s also unclear why anyone thinks some crazy whac-a-mole over a logo is ever actually going to work. Copyright is a tool that can, and frequently is, used to take down content, but that doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to allow such blatant censorship, or that such efforts will ever be particularly effective.

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Comments on “Dune's New Logo Started Disappearing From Twitter Due To Copyright Claims, But No One Is Quite Sure Why”

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32 Comments
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: It is by will alone I set the keys a clacking...

"…clearly it’s a first strike in the AI revolution, showing the folly of using machines for moderation rather than human moderators hopped up on some good old spice."

Well, if anything can give the cause of a good old butlerian jihad due weight of validation it would be contemporary filtering algorithms…

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Copright law is what you get when someone takes the concept that you can beat the rap but you can’t beat the ride and purposely designs the ride to be lethal. Just imagine how much more compliant the physical public would be if cops kept live cobras in the backseats of their cruisers.

Rights only matter if you can survive (financially) to assert them.

Queex says:

Not an original design?

As striking as the logo is, it’s kind of an inferior version of one design that appeared on a book cover:

https://i.redd.it/ji5nb6jxn8r21.jpg

I wondered if the designer of that book cover has taken umbrage at the new logo and is behind the takedowns. Not exactly a proper use of copyright law either, but makes slightly more sense.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If anything, both logos are work-for-hire product that would be owned by whoever holds the copyrights and licenses for the Dune multimedia franchise. The logo designer for the book would have no real legal standing for a copyright claim in that situation — no matter how they may or may not feel about the new logo.

Also: I somehow doubt the designer “took umbrage” to a new Dune logo existing. Dune has never really had a singular logo that represents the franchise itself, including the one made by that designer. For what reason should they be mad?

Anonymous Coward says:

I honestly don’t get what the big deal is. After hearing everyone go on about how awesome Dune is, I read it in college and was completely underwhelmed. The concept was OK, but the writing was dull, the execution was boring, and the ending was (and still is) one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Why do so many people get so excited about this book and want to see adaptations of it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

At the time Dune was originally released in 1965, it took a significantly different approach to dystopic Sci-Fi from classics like Asimov’s Foundation series. As such, it was a breath of fresh air to see a completely new writing style in the genre.

That, of course was the original book by Frank. The sequels by his son were more formulaic and "in the style" for people who were already invested in the Dune universe.

And now of course, 55 years later, it’s all about the nostalgia.

When I read the book for the first time shortly after reading Foundation and Earth, around 30 years ago, it was truly different and entertaining. When I went back to read it again recently, I only got through the first few chapters before I permanently put it down and decided I’d had enough of books written by the Herberts.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

55 years later, it’s all about the nostalgia

Not…really? I mean, I’m sure plenty of people have nostalgia for the franchise (or only parts of it, e.g., the original film), but let’s not act like Dune is a globally known property like Star Wars. The new film reeks of an attempt to make that leap — to create a new tentpole film franchise around an existing property which has at least some name recognition in broader culture. Nostalgia might aid the attempt, sure. But nostalgia alone won’t push Dune across that particular finish line.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To clarify, the nostalgia I’m referring to isn’t cultural nostalgia, but nostalgia for the book by those of us who read it over 20 years ago. Things from the past bringing up fond memories and all that.

So this is in answer to "I honestly don’t see what the big deal is." Anywhere that Dune is a big deal, it has more to do with nostalgia or its historical place in literature than it does to the actual plot or writing of the book or series.

That said, the series also has an existing stable fan base, a LOT of existing works under a pretty unified copyright umbrella, and a well developed fictional universe. This makes it ripe to do the Star Wars thing. Although… Dune LEGO seems a bit off, considering the adult content prevalent throughout the stories that made it stand out from other SciFi at the time.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The new film has the same hurdle to leap as previous films, the action in Dune was the background to an exploration of what was going on inside peoples heads. What the characters were thinking is an important part of the book, and that does not translate to film well.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"let’s not act like Dune is a globally known property like Star Wars"

Most things aren’t.

But, when something has already spawned numerous sequels, 3 movie & TV adaptations and a videogame franchise, among other things, it’s also hardly something without an audience. It’s certainly got more of a built-in audience than, say, Valerian or John Carter did for their movie adaptations.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"When I read the book for the first time shortly after reading Foundation and Earth, around 30 years ago, it was truly different and entertaining. When I went back to read it again recently, I only got through the first few chapters before I permanently put it down and decided I’d had enough of books written by the Herberts."

Well, the Dune series DID pave the way for quite a lot of modern sci-fi writers – biotech and genetech, cybernetics, meditative feedback enhancements…etc etc…

But it’s pretty sparse and reads like a hybrid of a John Carter sci-pulp novel and a bad Gene Roddenberry script. The world building in particular is drier than the dunes of arrakis. There’s too many conversations you just lose completely because the terminology in them requires you to guess what they’re actually discussing. WTF is a "tleilaxu" for instance, a "ghola" or a "bene gesserit sister"?

Turns out it’s, in order, a member of a clan of isolationist bio-engineers, a cloned replicant, and a member of a political-religious sects of supremacy masterminds running a centuries-long breeding program. But you don’t get that context just by picking up the book and trying to read it which renders shit more confusing than it’d have to be.

World-building is an art and Herbert would have done well to take that initial novel of his and spread it out in tolkien fashion.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"MOST BOOKS HAVE DICTIONARY IN BACK FOR WORDS"

Not the Dune novel – nor many other sci-fi and fantasy works, especially not from that era.

The "Dune" dictionary was left in the scribbled notes of Herbert and never made it to publication until in later books.

That’s why modern authors are keen to add context enough to make the use of new vernacular less confusing so it adds rather than subtracts from the reading experience.

guest says:

** You call it a "launch event", but the movie is not due out for nearly a year. This is probably either a briefing & trailer for industry insiders / management / investors, or a pre-release screening with a carefully selected audience, for the purpose of getting their reaction to a rough edit which they dont want people to discuss.

The use of a photo without permission here is probably just barely legal so long as they are not using it to promote the film in any public fashion. When it was leaked, maybe that became a potential liability. I think the photographer should be thrilled to get this kind of respect & exposure, but they might have smelled money and quickly objected to unsanctioned use. It will be interesting to see if this photo appears in official promo materials. **

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