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"All we did was write a letter, and a few hours later, it was retracted," she said in an interview with Ars this morning, pleased with the result.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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Filed Under: dmca, photographs, star wars, takedowns, toys
Companies: disney, facebook


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  1. 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.

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