I got takedown requests from Disney and Universal. I have tried to explain to them what the value of CineMaterial is, that it is a not-for-profit project (I have a regular daytime job as a web developer), and have offered several solutions, like limiting the maximum resolution for their posters. They are completely unreceptive though and want to see everything completely removed
I sent the following email to Disney US yesterday (because I was contacted by the EMEA division):
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to enquire about the use of Disney movie posters on a website. Over the past 10 years I have created an online archive of movie poster history which can currently be viewed on www.cinematerial.com.
On the website I have placed some advertisements, and users can buy access to premium features for a small fee. One of these features is to download images. Please note that the revenue that is generated by this is used to cover the website costs. I have a regular daytime job and this is just a passion/hobby project.
It has come to my attention that Disney's EMEA Anti-Piracy division has issues with my website, and wants me to take down all Disney movie posters. The issue they seem to have is that people can print physical posters from the images they download on CineMaterial. This is why I have offered to set a maximum resolution for Disney posters, to prevent this from happening. I don't see why displaying these poster images in a low resolution is a problem, since they are all over Google / IMDb / blogs anyway and are promotional material that is meant to be spread.
Can you please tell me whether I really need to remove all Disney posters, or if I can keep displaying them in a certain maximum and unprintable resolution? It would be a shame if Disney was to be missing from this great archive of movie poster history. Furthermore, I strongly believe CineMaterial can actually be beneficial to the movie industry and your business because my visitor base includes lots of blogs and websites that write about (promote) movies and include posters, that they get from CineMaterial, in their articles.
And I just got the following reply:
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately we cannot meet your request for use of our images. This matter is now being handled by our Antipiracy team.
Thank you again for contacting the Walt Disney Company/Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Hey guys... Just a thought... When a company goes against your needs, the solution is simple - boycott. That being said, taking in the fact that the size of Disney's consumers is astronomical, how effective would it be - coming from our little ''family''? This is a classic example of internet censorship imho, and I think that's sad. But again, as Martijn pointed it out to them in his email, most of these posters can be accessed with just an extra click of the mouse... so what have they accomplished exactly? It's nonsensical to say the least... Tyrannical at best.
Actually, if you make the front password protected, only a member of the site can see inside per sey, the reason you received a C&D is because the whole site is indexed in google. If the title page is just a gateway, you just index that.
I'd also suggest removing anything from the database that stores the movie studios too.
That way, Disney can't just send you a single email saying 'hey d00d, I saw you have our copyrighted material on your site. Take it down. All of it.'
You'd have literally no way of knowing which movies are Disney and which aren't. They'd have to send you a takedown notice for each and every single image. Look at YouTube. People upload copyrighted material all the time, and yep, YouTube takes it down...if/when they get a specific request for a specific video. Warner Bros. Music can't just send them 1 email saying 'take everything WB related down.'
It looks like the domain registration is in Panama...is the hosting in Panama too? If so, then pfffft, Disney/Universal has no authority to force you to take anything down anyways. These are just formal requests. Go private AND host the site somewhere outside of the US. Then they can have fun with that.
It's easy for us to say this stuff though since we're not the ones receiving threatening emails.
I find it hard to believe that anyone is actually printing posters and selling them, that's ridiculous. Disney/Universal stands to lose $0.00 from you hosting these images. If anything, this site has actually introduced me to a movie or two that I've forgotten about and subsequently bought. They're retarded.
But yeah, my armchair suggestion would be to make the site private (login splash page), host it outside of the US, and remove any studio information from the database.
Thank you so much for the site, it has really been helpful.
We are disappointed that you have not yet provided undertakings in the form attached. Moreover, a quick spot check of your website shows that you are still quite clearly infringing our rights including by permitting the download of our art work:
We’ve given you as many opportunities as is possible to handle this amicably. If we do not receive the undertakings by close of business tomorrow Friday 26 February we will pass this to external counsel and will then be requiring damages and a contribution to our legal fees to settle this.
First I have offered them a variety of possible solutions, like limiting the size of posters to 500 pixels. They turned down all solutions rigidly, so I finally requested a list of titles that I needed to remove. They were unable to give that to me so I went forward and composed a list myself of more than 120 Disney/Marvel/LucasFilm titles, and removed them. And now they are accusing me of not trying to handle this 'amicably'.
Disney now claims that each download represents a lost sale of a poster. Of course this is beyond ridiculous. I have mailed all users who recently downloaded a Disney poster and asked what they did with it. As you'd expect, almost nobody printed them (and the ones who did only printed them in small A3 format and were disappointed with the quality).
-someone who downloaded a digital image would have otherwise bought a poster;
-these images are good enough to print as 27" by 40" one sheets anyway;
-this website has made anything even close to that 10k figure. It obviously hasn't;
"Potential lost sales" - come on Disney, you're making billions with Star Wars Ep. VII alone and still need to argue with great little websites like this over made up numbers for potential lost merchandise sales... This is poor, really poor.
I sometimes wonder what goes on in the heads of people working in legal departments...
All images on CineMaterial.com are intended for non-commercial entertainment and education use only - reviews, fan art, blogs, forums, etc. CineMaterial is not endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with any movie studio. All copyrights, trademarks, and logos are owned by their respective owners. This site is for non-profit/educational use only. Using images from CineMaterial to make and/or sell reprinted movie posters is strictly forbidden.