Did Disney insist on taking down GIFs of Baby Yoda? It looks that way. If so, it’s the stupidest move ever.
Baby Yoda (or at the very least, a baby that looks just like him) is a character in The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars series on Disney+. And he’s popular, because he’s funny-looking and cute. (Unlike the new Tesla pickup truck, which is just funny-looking.)
GIFs of Baby Yoda started disappearing from GIPHY, and therefore from sites that had embedded them. The rational explanation is that Disney, which is vigorous in its copyright enforcement, asked to take them down, although there is no proof of what actually happened. (Disney wouldn’t comment and GIPHY was vague.)
Here are some things that are true:
- GIFs are (arguably) fair use since they transform content and don’t retard the demand for the original from which they are taken. “Generally, something is considered fair use when the original material is used for a limited and ‘transformative’ purpose, such as commentary, criticism or parody. “
- There is absolutely no question that Baby Yoda is increasing demand for Disney’s new streaming service. The more Baby Yoda people see, the more they’ll sell.
There’s only one thing I’m not sure of: Why is it so hard for companies to learn that draconian content actions, especially for content that’s novel and little-known, are counterproductive?