Disney Goes Too Far Protecting Star Wars Spoilers

I'm a huge Star Wars fan. As such, I'm looking forward to next week's release of The Force Awakens. Now, there are really two camps of fans, when it comes to the upcoming movie. Those that scour the web for any possible hints of what the movie might hold, and those that want to know as little as possible. I fall into the latter group, because I want to sit in the theater and be surprised. So what happens when spoilers get posted online before the movie is released?

It's been interesting to be a Star Wars fan over the last year or so. From the release of the very first teaser, I've been excited. But at the same time, I still get the feeling that I don't know anything about the movie. Sure, I've seen some characters, both familiar and new. I've seen some locations, and some action sequences. But thus far, everything that's been officially released has left me with far more questions than answers. And that's exactly what J.J. Abrams has been aiming for.

J.J. has said on more than one occasion that he wants the details of the movie to be a surprise to the audience. He even mentioned that Disney has worked with him on only releasing the details that he feels are most relevant. However, it seems that Disney might be taking a slightly hard-handed approach to keeping those secrets for J.J.

Yesterday, a fan walked into their local Walmart and pursued the toy aisle, only to find an action figure that he hadn't seen before. It was of a familiar character, but in a different costume that hasn't been shown anywhere. Naturally, he purchased it and took it home. A picture was then taken and uploaded to a Facebook fan page called Star Wars Action News, asking if anyone else had seen this particular figure.

Well, it would seem that this figure was not supposed to be released yet, and Disney took offense to the image being uploaded. That's a reasonable stance to take, since obviously one of their retail partners broke an embargo, and put something on the shelf that shouldn't have been released yet. So the natural course of action would be to contact the retailer and inform them of the mistake, and to also contact the Facebook page where the image was uploaded, and kindly ask them to remove it. Unfortunately, that's not the route they chose to take.

Instead of contacting the person operating the Facebook page to ask them to take the image down, Disney instead dispatched their lawyers on Facebook, and had the image removed, citing copyright infringement. The following is what was listed as the infringement:

"Description of infringement: A screen shot of an unreleased figurine for Star Wars: Force Awakens"

The image was then taken down by Facebook, who was more than happy to comply with the House of Mouse.

What's interesting is that this isn't the first time that Disney has taken offense to something that's been posted online. Just yesterday a YouTube video was put up by someone who spends time talking about various movies and TV shows. He included a segment about Star Wars, which apparently Disney didn't want to be public. They simply contacted the guy and asked that he take out the part about Star Wars, which he was kind enough to do. We don't know exactly what he said about the movie, so it's hard to compare the situations, but this is the response that we should see to this sort of thing. Not invoking the DMCA to protect movie spoilers.

The real question is why two different people posted something Star Wars-related that Disney didn't like, and received two very different responses from the company.

So, how far is too far, when you're protecting spoilers? As a fan that has gone to great lengths to avoid them, I applaud Disney for working so closely with J.J. Abrams to keep all of the secrets hidden away. However, I think it was completely unnecessary for them to have Facebook take the image down, without even bothering to try and contact the person who posted them. The guy didn't know that it was a figure that wasn't supposed to be released, and it seems like he would have been more than happy to take it down, if only asked.

I'm pretty sure I've watched more than a few Disney movies/shows where they try to teach you the value of kindness, and politely asking for the things you want instead of demanding.