The official Twitter account for Disney Plus decided to announce their social media campaign for their Star Wars themed May the Fourth celebration.
The campaign specifically includes the usage of #MayThe4th.
Celebrate the Saga! Reply with your favorite #StarWars memory and you may see it somewhere special on #MayThe4th.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) April 27, 2020
The Twitter campaign came after Disney announced they would be bringing the much maligned Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to Disney Plus on May 4th, 2020.
However, there was a confusing addendum to the usage of the #MayTheFourth hashtag as it required users to agree to Disney’s Use of Terms.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) April 27, 2020
Fans reacted to this tweet with fire and fury.
My favorite Star Wars memory would have to be the time Disney tried to lay legal claim to every tweet on Twitter that used a particular hashtag. #MayThe4th pic.twitter.com/7fDB3LKUlw
— Itsukushimi 🍥 (@Itsukushimi777) April 27, 2020
Yeah, that’s not how hashtags work, Disney. #Maythe4th and my middle finger be with you. https://t.co/US5CE6vam2
— Just Some Guy (@justsomeguycc) April 27, 2020
You do not own the hashtag. this hashtag has been around a long time. Well before you bought star wars. It was made by the fans for the fans. Shame on you.
— Josh the Amazing Animator (@mordennight) April 27, 2020
You can’t be freaking serious. You didn’t invent it, and you can’t own a phrase.
— Treyla95 (@durham_jaime) April 27, 2020
I was born on May 4th – does that mean you technically own my birthday? #MayThe4th
— The Millennial Musician (@themillennialmu) April 27, 2020
Hey @Twitter , @jack at what point do you step in and specifically say that hash tags don’t belong to anyone?
— Cory J Turner (@CoryJTurner) April 27, 2020
Following the ferocious, and rightfully so, backlash, to Disney attempting to claim a Twitter hashtag as their own, the official Disney Plus account would later claim that the legal language only applies to responses to their original tweet using #MayThe4th.
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!
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) April 27, 2020
“The Disney Products may ask for or allow you to communicate, submit, upload or otherwise make available text, chats, images, audio, video, contest entries or other content (“User Generated Content”), which may be accessible and viewable by the public. Access to these features may be subject to age restrictions. Whether a Disney Product made available by us or in connection with Disney Products appears on a Disney website, service and/or platform or is integrated with a third-party website, service, application, and/or platform, you may not submit or upload User Generated Content that is defamatory, harassing, threatening, bigoted, hateful, violent, vulgar, obscene, pornographic, or otherwise offensive or that harms or can reasonably be expected to harm any person or entity, whether or not such material is protected by law.”
“In most instances, we do not claim ownership of your User Generated Content; however, you grant us a non-exclusive, sublicensable, irrevocable and royalty-free worldwide license under all copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, privacy and publicity rights and other intellectual property rights for the full duration of those rights to use, reproduce, transmit, print, publish, publicly display, exhibit, distribute, redistribute, copy, index, comment on, modify, transform, adapt, translate, create derivative works based upon, publicly perform, publicly communicate, make available, and otherwise exploit such User Generated Content, in whole or in part, in all media formats and channels now known or hereafter devised (including in connection with the Disney Products and on third-party websites, services, applications, and/or platforms), in any number of copies and without limit as to time, manner and frequency of use, without further notice to you, without attribution (to the extent this is not contrary to mandatory provisions of applicable law), and without the requirement of permission from or payment to you or any other person or entity. You agree that submission of User Generated Content does not establish any relationship of trust and confidence between you and us, and that you have no expectation of compensation whatsoever (except as may be specifically stated in the provisions of the Disney Products in connection with the submission, or arising from it).”
It goes on:
“You represent and warrant that your User Generated Content conforms to this Agreement and that you own or have the necessary rights and permissions including, without limitation, all copyrights, music rights and likeness rights (with respect to any person) contained in the User Generated Content, without the need for payment to any other person or entity, to use and exploit, and to authorize us to use and exploit, your User Generated Content in all manners contemplated by this Agreement; and you agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from any claims or expenses (including attorneys’ fees) by any third party arising out of or in connection with our use and exploitation of your User Generated Content resulting from your breach of this Agreement. You also agree to waive and not to enforce any moral rights, ancillary rights or similar rights in or to the User Generated Content against us or our licensees, distributors, agents, representatives and other authorized users, and agree to procure the same agreement to waive and not to enforce from others who may possess such rights.”
“To the extent that we authorize you to create, post, upload, distribute, publicly display or publicly perform User Generated Content that requires the use of our copyrighted works, we grant you a non-exclusive license to create a derivative work using the specifically referenced copyrighted works as required for the sole purpose of creating such a work, provided that such license shall be conditioned upon your assignment to us of all rights worldwide in the work you create for the duration of copyright in the User Generated Content, in all formats and media known or unknown to date, including for use on Disney Products and on third party sites and platforms. If such rights are not assigned to us, your license to create derivative works using our copyrighted works shall be null and void.”
The section concludes:
“We may monitor, screen, post, remove, modify, store and review User Generated Content or communications sent through a Disney Product, at any time and for any reason, including to ensure that the User Generated Content or communication conforms to this Agreement, without prior notice to you. We may terminate your account and access to the Disney Products if your User Generated Content violates this Agreement, including unlawful postings or content, without prior notice to you. We are not responsible for, and do not endorse or guarantee, the opinions, views, advice or recommendations posted or sent by users.”
The updated Tweet did not stem the tide of anger coming Disney’s way. In fact, it appears to have intensified it.
You don’t get to put ridiculous adhesion contracts on tweets. We’re under Twitter’s TOS, not yours.
Stop being stupid. #MayThe4th
— Rekieta Media (@RekietaMedia) April 27, 2020
Social Media Disney team
— Mike ‘Hazawk’ (@Hazawk) April 27, 2020
No it doesn’t. Still not how consent works. #MayThe4th
— Eric Lecardovirus (@castlenania) April 27, 2020
That’s definitely not how this works
— Quality Library (@QualityLibrary) April 27, 2020
Incorrect. #MayThe4th was LONG used before you aquired SW film rights. Secondly, you cannot enforce your terms without ample warning to give public the right to not use or use the hashtag. Your lawyers know this. It is called due process and who can claim rights, first.
— Vegas Gal (@_mrs_ladybug_) April 27, 2020
Dear @DisneyPlus: By using my account name or message in any of your media, you agree to give me, and anyone who retweets this tweet, $5,042,020. #MayThe4th indeed!
— Rob Costello (@CloudbusterRob) April 27, 2020
While Disney does not have any legal claim to the phrase May The 4th, they do have a trademark on the more particular wording, “May the 4th Be With You.”
What do you think of Disney Plus trying to monopolize on May the Fourth and the tweets using the hashtag?
Sound off in the comments below or let’s talk about it on social media!