Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
dmca, photographs, star wars, takedowns, toys

Companies:
disney, facebook



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"All we did was write a letter, and a few hours later, it was retracted," she said in an interview with Ars this morning, pleased with the result.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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  • icon
    rorybaust (profile), 16 Dec 2015 @ 4:27pm

    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 .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 1:31am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Dec 2015 @ 10:00am

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

      and they wonder why people have no respect
      Do they? Why would Disney care about respect? Despite stuff like this, people are still giving them money, which is what really matters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2015 @ 4:41pm

    What if they used the Streisand Effect to advertise said toy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2015 @ 4:46pm

    So I guess this means that taking a picture of something only creates a new copyright interest if it is convenient?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 2:31am

      Re:

      Same as ever - the most important copyright is the one owned by a corporation. If an individual or independent owns a competing copyright, that's less important and should be ignored wherever there's profit to be had.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RD, 17 Dec 2015 @ 8:27am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 16th, 2015 @ 4:46pm

      Only if it's a monkey.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2015 @ 5:19pm

    Damned Nazis. They'll steal your teeth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ark, 16 Dec 2015 @ 5:36pm

    I tried to bring this to r/StarWars' attention. They were not impressed. Probably shouldn't have suggested waiting until after opening weekend to see the film.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWars/comments/3x3o12/why_you_shouldnt_see_star_wars_opening_weeken d_no/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2015 @ 8:35pm

      Re:

      Hey, junkies got to get their fix, and if the dealer has a habit of slapping them around a bit and making it abundantly clear that they see their customers as nothing more than walking wallets, well that's a small price to pay, isn't it? /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 2:29am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 16 Dec 2015 @ 5:52pm

    DMCA

    Disney
    Millennium Falcon
    Copyright
    Act

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2015 @ 8:38pm

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

    Retract the claim once, and then file it again, resulting in a suspension of the account?

    That's not admitting that they were wrong, that's realizing that they didn't hit hard enough the first time and winding up for another swing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:57am

      Copyright SWATting?

      Since websites like Facebook and YouTube seem to act autonomously and consistently, then yes, it's a matter of creating an autonomous macro that will result in the desired effect.

      e.g. DMCA, remove notice. Repeat until target account is permanently banned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 2:18am

      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."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 17 Dec 2015 @ 1:24am

    The image should read: Welcome to the Dickhead Side. We have Litigation Land.

    The stupidity and greed of this company knows no bounds and any dirt (shit?) that sticks is worth it's weight in...well...crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    al, 17 Dec 2015 @ 3:30am

    Best Marketing viral ploy ever!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      The only problem, is the photo was taken by the fan. Of a product legally purchased and owned by the fan. They should be the sole copyright owner in this case.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 7:22am

        Re: Re:

        Sorry, replied to the wrong comment. Should have been the anonymous joker insinuating Mike was upset about copyright working correctly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 3:43am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced. Bawk bawk! :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      And clowns just hate getting a DMCA notice. So here's one from me, to you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 2:33pm

      Re:

      1/10.

      Bad troll. No cookie. Try again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JustMe (profile), 18 Dec 2015 @ 5:16am

      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!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 6:16am

    Bad illustration

    "welcome to the Dark Side. We have Disneyland." makes about as much sense as a picture of Hitler above "We have Berlin". Well, yeah. That would be kind of a given. I mean, once you got over the lousy Austrian landscape painter bit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 7:19am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Dec 2015 @ 11:19am

      Re: File a counter claim with Facebook.

      Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 11:28am

      Re: File a counter claim with Facebook.

      Never ascribe to malice what can be attributed to automation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JustMe (profile), 18 Dec 2015 @ 5:35am

        Re: Re: File a counter claim with Facebook.

        If they are automating it and if that process results in unsupportable (bogus) DMCA takedown requests then they are in violation of the legal attestation they are signing. The penalties for perjury need to be enforced.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryunosuke, 17 Dec 2015 @ 7:28am

    I said it before

    The DMCA as implemented, is a restriction on freedom of speech. And thanks to Mike, I think we should try taking the DMCA violation out of an academic setting and into a practical setting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 10:44am

    I wonder what Walt Disney would think of all this crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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