Disney is aggressively trying to scrub photos of a “Star Wars” action figure from the internet after it accidentally went on sale early.
As also reported by Ars Technica, people who share photos of an action figure of the character “Rey” are being hit with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices — a kind of legal threat that demands the offending media be removed.
Disney did not immediately respond when contacted by Business Insider for comment. We will update this story when we hear back.
It began when a Star Wars collector called Justin Kozisek found the action figure for sale in Walmart, before its intended release date. He bought it, and shared a photo of it to Star Wars Action News — a Facebook page dedicated to Star Wars news and merchandise.
But Facebook subsequently took the image down after Lucasfilm — the studio behind Star Wars now owned by Disney — sent a DMCA notice to the social network alleging copyright infringement.
Business Insider is republishing the photo with permission from Marjorie Carvalho, one of the owners of Star Wars Action News. Scroll down for the full image. Carvalho told Business Insider:
When we received the notice from Facebook, we emailed the Disney email that was included. We received zero response from Disney however sometime overnight the picture was restored to our page. We received an email from Facebook that “The reporting party, The Walt Disney Company, has retracted their report.”
Jeremy Conrad, another Star Wars enthusiast, shared the same image. He wrote on the blog Star Wars Unity that he subsequently “woke up to numerous DMCA takedown notices on the @starwarsunity Twitter account, the Facebook account, the Google+ Page, and my personal Twitter for posting the image of an action figure that was legally purchased at Walmart. My webhost also received a takedown email from them with a threat of a lawsuit of the image wasn’t removed.
“I of course removed the image because I can’t afford to be sued by a toy company who likes to bully Star Wars fans.” (Conrad blamed Hasbro, the action figure manufacturer, for the DMCA takedowns — but it looks like it was actually Lucasfilm/Disney who were responsible.)
Conrad has expressed frustration at the legal threats, arguing that because the toy was accidentally released, photos of it shouldn’t be treated the same as leaked or stolen confidential info. “It’s not unreleased if you can walk into Walmart and buy the damn toy! This wasn’t a figure that was stolen off the back of a truck or stolen out from behind closed doors at Hasbro. It was legally purchased in a store by a fan and they posted a picture of their purchase on the internet.”
The full image is below. Beware: It appears to contain a mild spoiler — that Rey uses a lightsaber, suggesting she will be (or become) a Jedi in the movie.
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