The STAR WARS legal action has begun

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Have no doubt, when Star Wars found a new home, it ended up with a company that is even more litigiously inclined than the might Lucasfilm. Disney takes no nonsense, as was demonstrated yesterday. The company got a subpoena against the image-sharing website Imageshack. The offending article: A still from the new Star Wars movie. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

The subpoena is directed to ImageShack, a website hosting a screenshot of what appears to be a Sith lord from the film set to be released in December. The pictured character wears a dark hood and a mask and is waiving a red broadsword lightsaber that’s of the same ilk seen in the movie’s trailer. It was posted by a user named “Darth_Simi.”

In a declaration to support the issuance of a subpoena, a Disney employee confirms the image relates to Episode VII, now officially known as The Force Awakens, and that ImageShack was sent a takedown notice pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Yes, this is not really news. But it serves as a reminder that pretty much everything you see and hear about an upcoming movie is really part of a careful marketing strategy. Game publishers have been doing this for years, using buttered-up screenshots and videos to get us excited. But whenever you see a ‘scoop’, it’s really just a marketing type giving out crumbs. And they enforce this: years ago I worked at a gaming magazine and a staff member was banned from a major publisher’s event for posting screenshots online before the embargo. He was banned for years – the offending items were posted somewhere in the mid 2000s, but he wasn’t allowed back into that publisher’s events until 2011.

Naturally companies should protect their assets, as Marvel did last year when it filed a subpoena with Google to remove an Age of Ultron-related file from Google Drive. And Disney took on an independent filmmaker for copying the Frozen logo.

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The company is going to real lengths to keep The Force Awakens info under wraps, including lengthy non-disclosure agreements for just about anyone close to the sets, as well as anti-drone technology. But this has not stopped an interesting leak of information to seep out, most through the Imageshack account of one Darth_Simi, the target of the subpoena.

More strange is that they can’t seem the catch the person, who judging by the photos on the account has some serious access to the production. On the other hand maybe it’s actually a clever ploy by Disney: ‘leak’ stuff from the sets and then sue to hide that its behind the whole scheme. But perhaps that is too cynical. Or using different cynical logic, perhaps that is far too creative for such a corporation. Either way, Darth Simi is still avoiding the gaze of Disney’s lawyers.

Last Updated: February 3, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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