Disney Claims Ownership of ‘Star Wars’ Fans’ Messages in Social Media Fiasco

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

A recent post from the Disney+ Twitter account has led to anger from Star Wars fans who believe that the company is attempting to take ownership of the popular #MayThe4th hashtag.

PCMag reports that many Star Wars fans have been angered by Disney, not for its terrible Star Wars sequel trilogy films, but for its attempt to claim ownership of the content posted under the #MayThe4th hashtag on Twitter.

The outrage began when the company’s Disney+ streaming service tweeted that users should share their favorite Star Wars memories on Twitter, but the company posted a second tweet shortly afterward stating: “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

A third tweet did state that: “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!”

Star Wars fans, however, were not happy with Disney attempting to hijack the #MayThe4th hashtag which is used every May 4 as part of a yearly Star Wars celebration. Many users tweeted their disapproval, some tweets can be seen below:

PCMag spoke to Alexandra Roberts, a law professor at the University of New Hampshire, who called Disney’s attempt to lay claim to the hashtag “ridiculous.” Roberts told PCMag: “Disney hasn’t registered #MayThe4th as a trademark, but even if it did, that wouldn’t prevent laypeople from using it as a hashtag to label content that they post. So Disney just tweeting into the abyss doesn’t magically subject Twitter users who never saw its tweet to have agreed to comply with its terms.”

Casey Fiesler, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies computing and law, added: “At worst, they’re intentionally trying to grab rights in a way that is totally outside of legal scope. At best, this is an extremely poorly worded tweet that represents a ridiculous rights grab even if it was within their power.”

Fiesler continued: “I personally think that these kinds of rights grabs are still kind of silly, and that to avoid confusion they should just ask for permission from anyone whose content they want to use beyond what might already be permissible.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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