“Star Wars: Episode VII— The Force Awakens” and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
The immediate response by Lucasfilm and Disney demonstrates how vigilant studios are when it comes to protecting intellectual property, especially prior to a big blockbuster release. In all likelihood, studios are not going to pursue fans posting photos other than by having the photos removed from social media. It would be a difficult case for Lucasfilm and Disney, and to pursue the matter any further would generate ill will among the members of the intended audience for the film. A retailer breaking street date, however, is another story. In this case, the issue will be whether Walmart went to the dark side and intentionally launched the collectibles early or leaked the product by mistake.
Often it seems that social media facilitates copyright infringement. However, in a twist, social media made it easier for Lucasfilm and Disney to police the use of their intellectual property by bringing to light a violation that might otherwise have gone undetected.
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