Disney is known to take it intellectual property (IP) seriously. And boy it so maintains that! When Disney acquired Lucasfilm for a whopping $4 billion in 2012, it continued with its stringent IP protection mojo. Lucasfilm is known for the popular cult fiction, Star Wars, and is releasing ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, the recent episode of the first Star Wars movie franchise to be released under the Mouse in the House banner, in a few days.
Known for its various billion dollar lawsuits, Disney sued a Justin Kozisek, a reporter working with Star Wars Action News (SWAN) podcast. The latter, who was shopping at a Walmart store in Iowa, USA, spotted an action figure of the character Rey from the upcoming movie, purchased it and took a picture of the same posting it online onto his podcast’s Facebook page. He posted the image along with the query, “Have we known this figure was coming? I just found her at Walmart — no new other figures.” Supposedly, the action figure was released ahead of time, by the store where the purchase was made, despite the fact that the action figures were allegedly not to be released until closer to the actual movie launch date.
This was not taken too well by Disney, as after becoming aware of the images, it submitted a copyright infringement claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) with Facebook, which then removed the photos and also banned Justin for 3 days from accessing his Facebook account for having ‘violated copyright’. Disney’s lawyers did not deter themselves from the vast expanse of the internet and further blanketed various others with DMCA copyright infringement and take down notices.
The producers of the podcast, Marjorie Carvalho and her husband then emailed Disney explaining the whole situation to them, based on which Disney reportedly contacted Facebook and withdrew its DMCA claims. But soon after Disney, submitted a fresh DMCA notice based on which, Facebook removed the photographs from the podcast’s page along with the deletion of the text the podcast had posted along with the photos.
It is imprecise as to why the second claim was made by Disney, despite accepting Carvalho’s explanation and withdrawing the original notice with Facebook. This incident although caused hullabaloo, as well as social media jests and jibes hurled at Disney by Star Wars fans and non-fans alike. Till then all everybody hopes is may the force be with Disney!