Disney Says If You Tweet #MayThe4th At It, You're Agreeing To A Disney Terms Of Use (You're Not)

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.

Anyway, after asking people to share their favorite Star Wars memory, Disney+ just had to Disney it all up by declaring that if you use that hashtag, you are agreeing to Disney’s very broad terms of use, which include a bunch of fun nonsense like “binding arbitration” and a “class action waiver.” All based on the use of a hashtag. After everyone started mocking them for this bullshit rights claim, five hours later they added a new “clause” by tweet, saying that “the above legal language only applies to replies” to Disney+. Of course, that still doesn’t make it legit.

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.

7am PT: By sharing your message with us using #MayThe4th, you agree to our use of the message and your account name in all media and our terms of use here: http://disneytermsofuse.com

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?”

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.

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Companies: disney

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Comments on “Disney Says If You Tweet #MayThe4th At It, You're Agreeing To A Disney Terms Of Use (You're Not)”

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50 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Have they submitted the paperwork for copyright and trademark upon the phrase "May the 4th be with you"?

No need. This is fucking Disney we’re talking about. I’m sure the "Make Using Any English Phrase Subject To A Legally Binding Unconscionable Contract Act" is already being signed by the president. At the every least it’s being approved by Congress.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

"if only Disney (whose biggest hits rely heavily on the public domain)"

Always worth sharing.

It’s also worth sharing the origins of Star Wars – Lucas originally wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, but after being refused the licence went on to create a script that openly plagiarised not only that source, but also Akira Kurosawa movies, world war dogfight movies and various other sources.

If Disney’s demands were based in reality, they wouldn’t legally have the products they’re trying to protect to begin with.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Exactly. If you’ve participated in anything including (but not limited to) Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN, ABC, National Geographic or 20th Century Fox, you’re now in a Disney database. They own all sorts of things you wouldn’t immediately associate with them. It’s way more likely to have done something that you didn’t believe had anything to do with Disney that they now own, than it is for your email to actually have made it into their database unsolicited.

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

this fight between Disney, Sony and Nintendo for which company is the biggest anti- public, anti-customer crock of crap is ridiculous! why the hell they cant embrace customers and fans is beyond me. no one is trying to take their copyrights or profits. damn stupid attitude that one day will come back and bite them squarely in the ass, hard!!

Crafty Coyote says:

I’m beginning to wonder how they would enforce copyright, in the absence of courts. You can’t have defendant, plaintiff, judge, twelve jurors, bailiff, and audience all in one place because of social distancing so it seems that pirate defenants would have even more advantages than what they normally do. I don’t think copyright enforcement would survive CoViD-19, but I’m okay with that

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Wyrm (profile) says:

I’m not going to risk "binding" myself to their terms, so I’ll share this here:

My favorite memories of Star Wars were when I didn’t have to worry about bs legal claims when talking about Star Wars. Even on #MayThe4th .

Disney is ruining all my childhood memories with the franchise they now own by adding a layer of legalese on everything. Not that they are the only ones, but they are definitely among the worst offenders.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

True enough, but those were things happening behind the scenes. Personal scandals about the company and its owner. Rarely affected the public in general, so you could enjoy Disney’s productions without problem.

Nowadays, Disney (like many others to be fair) makes it a habit of suing anyone trying to make an hommage to any of their so-called "property". Or bury you in legalese when you try to come to an agreement with them for something as negligible as a tweet.

Anything related to "art" has become such a pain that you need a real dedication to it if you want to make anything. Art as a hobby is getting pretty dangerous. And even simply enjoying it is sometimes difficult due to agreements and lawsuits between entertainment companies (be it producers or distributors).

They want the money this sector provides without actually distributing the content as widely as possible. Some days, you wonder if they want their productions known at all. Suing for people talking about them in public, suing for people appropriating it for their own enjoyment, in way that were normal years ago and are now legal liabilities, thanks to "copyright" covering anything you want to do now that it’s on Internet, because Internet is basically an information copying machine.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"A lot of us grew up on Disney. It’s truly sad to see what has become of a once beloved company."

Here’s the thing – it never was that beloved company you remember. Walt was, by all accounts, an incredibly horrible person who found a recipe for success, then abused the crap out of anyone desperate enough to work for him.

Snow White? The Jungle Book? Produced by animators held to near slavery standards by ‘Uncle Walt’. He occasionally didn’t even pay them, and fired them at a rate closer resembling a Trump’s Utopia than a sensible working environment. Slave labor even by 19th century standards.

And that’s before going into his views on the ‘lesser races’, or the way he attended meetings of the american nazi party – or was applauded by Leni Riefenstahl after her US visit when, right after the "kristallnacht", Disney studios were the only hollywood studio rolling out the red carpet for the official nazi spokeswoman and a proud Walt Disney gave her the grand tour.

A lot of us did indeed grow up on Disney and it’s pretty telling how damn good that company is at whitewashing its own image that none of us ever knew, at the time, just what a dick that enterprise always was.

If realizing what your childhood dreams and entertainment was truly made of makes you shocked, horrified and repulsed – You aren’t the only one.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, they have undoubtedly brought joy to millions, but that always came with a dark side.

I would argue that Walt’s personal beliefs outside of his CEO role may be safely ignored in the contexts where that is not directly related to the way he was running the company, and some of the problems can be explained away within the culture of the time. But, there is enough of a dark side in terms of the way the company operated outside of that in any case.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"No, not Disney. The Nazis."

The Disney which was the only studio in Hollywood to welcome Leni Riefenstahl in 1938 and whose founder, Walt, used to attend the meetings of the official american nazi party?

…I think the difference is a little less than your post implies.

OGquaker says:

May the 4th live in infamy

Absorbing history?
Having been Drafted in 1969, and worked at Lucasfilm from October 1975 through 1977 plus on and off through 1983, for me May the 4th is the anniversary of the massacre at Kent State in 1970.
Although that slaughter pales in number to those killed in "Star Wars, A New Hope"; Lucas subsumed war into a video game, ending the American "Vietnam Syndrome".
Therefore, unlike most people in Hollywood, George got to keep all his cash if he just kept selling endless war. Go Figure.
Disney traded a walk-through ILM for letting Don Iwerks improve two shots, seen in the 35mm release. Running back to Disney, the engineers built their "own" ILM camera from a Nazi Askania 8perf from WWII. Walt would be proud.

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