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.

Filed Under: #maythe4th, contracts, hashtags, how does it work?, star wars, tweeting
Companies: disney


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 5:39am

    Robber barons: first they steal property from the people, and then rent it back to them to create a perpetual income.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 5:41am

    Have they submitted the paperwork for copyright and trademark upon the phrase "May the 4th be with you"? I doubt one could get a patent upon a phrase but why not .. submit the paper and see.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      When in doubt about which IP concept applies, just try all of them!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:11am

        Re: Re:

        Yes!
        If software can have both copyright and patent ... why not other stuff.
        Is there a trifecta winner, where they got all three?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 9:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Write novel source code, embed said code in a logo.

          Now you can get copyright, trademark, and patent protection.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 3:41pm

      Re:

      The way the USPTO likes to grant patents on things that cannot be patented, you might well be able to.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:40pm

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2020 @ 7:57pm

      Re:

      Gene Simmons owns " O.J" For orange juice

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

  • identicon
    Gang of Four, 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:01am

    May the 35th be with you

    I'll wave a class action at you.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:06am

    Only a Sith deals in copyright.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:29am

    "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.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 5:53am

      Re:

      Arguably the biggest narrative contributor to Star Wars is the old Arthur Legend. Some old wizardly fart shows up and hands a farmboy a magical sword, then tells him to go kill the big bad guy who happens to be his father...

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

  • icon
    Improbus (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:44am

    Prognostication

    I predict that in the future the Disney executive team will have a fire lit under them, literally.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:45am

    'A bunch of fans celebrating our stuff? Where's our cut?'

    Ah Disney, when reality doesn't work out how you want it to just make shit up and hope in vain someone doesn't call you on it.

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

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 6:51am

    How ironic. I just received an unsolicited email from Disney about their updated terms of service.

    I don't have any account with them, and never have had. Guess that means I can respond back to them and bind them to my terms of service for spamming me.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 1:39am

      Re:

      "I don't have any account with them, and never have had. "

      Are you sure? You're probably in the database of one of the many companies they've bought over the years.

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

      • icon
        Norahc (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re:

        Positive. Plus this is the first email they've ever sent me.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2020 @ 3:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It took me a while to figure out why I got one, but then I realized that I had participated in a fantasy football league on the ESPN site one time.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 11:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 7:05am

    (almost) Must Tweet

    "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!"

    That's the most closely tempted I've ever been to opening a Twitter account.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 7:09am

    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!!

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 7:42am

    Sounds about par for the course for terms of service "agreements"...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 7:59am

    Would a painter be imprisoned for painting something completely obscene with Mario and Mickey Mouse?
    I mean...there's that Christ in urine "artwork". You can mock the creator of the universe, but Mario and Mickey are off limits?
    Where are the 'activist artist' when you need them?

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

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:17am

    https://youtu.be/Capd8vHKe8s

    TL;DW: a bit long-winded, but after all, he's a copyright lawyer. Comes to the same conclusion.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:22am

    How can something that appears to be a contract be legally binding if one party can change the terms of the agreement at any time?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:25am

    You can mock the creator of the universe, but Mario and Mickey are off limits?

    You forget: the creator of the universe does not have any access to copyright lawyers.

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

  • identicon
    Naughty Autie, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:31am

    "Disney Says If You Tweet #MayThe4th At It, You're Agreeing To A Disney Terms Of Use."

    That's okay. I'll just Tweet #RevengeOfThe5th at Dibsney instead. It hasn't enough time at the moment to include that one in its ToS.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 8:35am

    I guess Disney didn't lay off the lawyers.

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

  • identicon
    Crafty Coyote, 28 Apr 2020 @ 10:42am

    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

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

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 11:31am

    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.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 11:44am

      Re:

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

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re:

        I mean, Disney was doing dodgy stuff at least as far back as the 1940s. It's a much bigger company now than it was then, but I think you may be pining for "good old days" that never really existed.

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

        • icon
          Wyrm (profile), 30 Apr 2020 @ 12:36pm

          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.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 6:14am

        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.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 6:25am

          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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      Sorry, you fell into the trap of the bad headline. In fact, they claim the terms apply to all "sharing" with the tag, not just "tweeting"; and you just posted a public message including the magic tag.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Apr 2020 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      Lucasfilm sending C&Ds over "Chewie is my co-pilot" bumper stickers way before the Disney purchase.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2020 @ 3:01pm

    Here in the Netherlands, the 4th of May is when we remember those who fought and died in a war against an evil, greedy empire. No, not Disney. The Nazis.

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

    • identicon
      Gang of Four, 28 Apr 2020 @ 4:41pm

      Re: not Disney. The Nazis.

      Do you mean the Nidseys?

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 6:17am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    OGquaker, 28 Apr 2020 @ 3:16pm

    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.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Pap Announcer (profile), 29 Apr 2020 @ 5:03am

    Gaming Controller

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


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