from the seriously-guys? dept
A million and a half people are all sending this monstrosity to me. From patient zero of overly aggressive content ownership, the Twitter account of Disney+, the new streaming service from Disney, announced that everyone should share their favorite Star Wars memories using the #MayThe4th hashtag. As you probably know, “May the 4th” has become the semi-official Star Wars day, thanks to fans of the movies spreading the “May the force be with you”/”May the 4th be with you” puns on social media a little over a decade ago, leading to it being declared (unofficially) as “Star Wars Day” in 2011. Disney finally agreed to embrace it in 2013.
In case you can’t read it, here is the three tweet sequence typed out:
7am PT: Celebrate the Saga! Reply with your favorite #StarWars memory and you may see it somewhere special on #MayThe4th.
12:07pm PT: The above legal language applies ONLY to replies to this tweet using #MayThe4th and mentioning @DisneyPlus. These replies may appear in something special on May the 4th!
All of that remains ridiculous, even with the “clarification” that it only applies to replies. I get what Disney’s lawyers are trying to do. They want to put together “something special” for May the 4th and Disney lawyers are doing what Disney lawyers do, worrying about copyright. So they must have wanted some way to make it clear that they can use these tweets, and tweeting out a ridiculous “if you use this hashtag, we’ve made a contract” seemed like the easiest way to handle things — even as it’s totally ridiculous and unlikely to stand up in court. The later “clarification” doesn’t make things much better, other than to at least note that they’re limiting their bogus, over-aggressive rights claiming to a limited set of tweets.
But, man, if only Disney (whose biggest hits rely heavily on the public domain) hadn’t spent decades fighting against fair use and the public domain, its lawyers wouldn’t have to try to make bullshit claims like this. Wouldn’t that have been special?
Of course, if Disney can make a blanket claim like this, there’s nothing to stop others from making claims as well, like EFF lawyer Kurt Opsahl, who figured “why not?”
— Kurt Opsahl (@kurtopsahl) April 27, 2020
Either way, it’s just so Disney to take a concept that was fan-created, which was only later embraced, and then put its own special stamp of legalese and copyright over-claiming on it.