Disney Gets Fans Who Made Their Own ‘Club Penguin’ Online Game Arrested Over Copyright

from the mine-mine-mine! dept

Within the pantheon of aggressive mental property bullies, Disney actually could be one of many firms that may be competing to be Zeus. Disney has merely by no means seen a possibility for IP enforcement that it hasn’t acted upon, be it copyright, trademark, or wherever in between. Extra to the purpose for this put up, Disney additionally has this enjoyable mindset that even when it isn’t going to make use of an IP it owns, it doesn’t prefer it if anybody else does, both. On the subject of copyright particularly, this might characterize a full departure from the aim of copyright regulation: to encourage the creation and launch of content material in change for a short lived monopoly on that content material.

Keep in mind Membership Penguin? That was the title of an internet recreation/group, as soon as unbiased, which Disney acquired in 2007 and spent the next decade working instantly into the bottom. The positioning and repair, as soon as beloved by the general public, was totally shut down in 2017. Disney tried to make use of the Membership Penguin title by releasing a cellular app model of Membership Penguin known as Membership Penguin Island. That cellular app was panned by Membership Penguin followers and was shut down in 2018, somewhat over a yr after its launch.

However followers of the unique unbiased Membership Penguin lived on. In 2020, a bunch of followers launched Membership Penguin On-line, run by followers in a totally unlicensed situation. Disney fired off DMCA notices and received CPO taken down. To be honest to Disney, many on the time postulated that these actions have been resulting from some extraordinarily gross and unlawful predatory conduct that was being carried out upon kids on the CPO servers by some customers. However to be honest to the regulation, that isn’t what copyright is for. There are already different legal guidelines designed to take care of such predators.

Moreover, it’s 2022 and right here we’re once more, with Disney working with Metropolis of London police not solely to get one other Membership Penguin fan-run website shut down, however to really get three people working it arrested.

In an emailed assertion to TechCrunch, Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt from the Police Mental Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at Metropolis of London Police stated:

“Following a grievance below copyright regulation, PIPCU have seized a gaming web site as a part of an ongoing investigation into the positioning. Three individuals have been arrested on April 12 on suspicion of distributing supplies infringing copyright and searches have been carried out. They’ve been launched below investigation and to assist with the police investigation, they agreed to signal over the web site to the management of PIPCU.”

Notice the entire lack of any accusation of racism, terrorism, or little one predatory conduct in that assertion. By all accounts, there doesn’t appear to be any indication right here that this has something to do with something past Disney imposing its copyright for Membership Penguin. A copyright that, by the by, it has finished completely nothing with for a number of years now.

In different phrases, Disney isn’t going to make use of this IP, and the general public can’t use it both. So who will get to play the beloved Membership Penguin in any type? No person, that’s who. Why? As a result of Disney would moderately select to implement its copyright on a moldy piece of tradition moderately than let anybody else benefit from the meal.

And, we shouldn’t let the Metropolis of London police off the hook right here both. Their actions have been nicely documented on Techdirt’s pages earlier than. As everybody will remind you, this isn’t the Metropolitan Police Service in London. It is a regulation enforcement arm of “the Metropolis of London” which is a one-square mile chunk in the midst of London, the place that police power way back determined that it was going to change into Hollywood’s private thugs. They’ve a protracted historical past of overly aggressively attacking the web, assuming everyone seems to be a prison. They’ve actually claimed that 90% of the web is a threat to society. They’ve been in a position to inject “this web site has been reported to the police” onto web sites with no due course of. They’ve arrested individuals on sketchy logic earlier than. They’ve tried to argue that area registrars are criminally liable for actions finished by web sites. And so they’ve had a few of their earlier fever dream arrest circumstances over copyright disintegrate.

Principally, they’re the police power that Hollywood has all the time wished, and so they’re glad to oblige, with out ever recognizing that the world isn’t what they assume it’s, and a few followers remembering a group they cherished, even one owned by Disney, is just not a prison offense.

Once more, that is the alternative of the intention of copyright regulation. Copyright wasn’t designed to refuse the general public entry to tradition. It was designed to advertise extra entry to tradition by the general public. It appears that evidently that is one more instance of a design flaw throughout the regulation — and it’s unhappy that the Metropolis of London Police are so glad to abuse their energy to lock individuals as much as proceed to pervert the intention of copyright regulation.

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