Since the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Baby Yoda has been a massive hit and Disney’s efforts to keep him under wraps has caused a platoon of unofficial Baby Yoda’s. Disney are now cracking down on offending businesses by issuing takedown notices that require listings to be removed. The main online marketplace affected is Etsy, most likely due to its ‘handmade’ niche. Etsy make it clear in their Intellectual Property Policy that they can disable any listing or account if needed.
“Copyright infringement, unofficial Baby Yoda is.”
– Yoda, on behalf of Tamebay
If you’re a seller relying on the income of bootleg merchandise you might be starting a battle impossible to win. So far, several Etsy stores have had their listings removed and sales disrupted. As upsetting as it must be for those affected, copyright infringement is something every business should work hard to avoid if they want success. Researching what is and isn’t allowed before creating toys based on the characters owned by someone else is better than running into problems that could ruin businesses further down the line. Disney are also very well known for creating chaos for online sellers, so there’s your warning.
In some cases the stores affected by the Baby Yoda crackdown are working around the issue, 100AcreWoodshop, one of the sellers accused of infringement are still able to list their products as ‘Alien plush dolls’ despite showing clear likeness to you know who. It seems like the latest reviewer Abel hasn’t received the memo of Baby Yoda’s identity change…
Currently the way Disney are tackling the situation is haphazard and you can still find Baby Yoda merchandise sold on Etsy under the trademarked character name. Presumably best sellers, as in those making the most profit out of Disney are the ones being targeted.
From one of the eBay listings:
Baby Yoda The Child Cute I Am Adore Me You Must Star Boba Fett Wars
“[…] This item is completely unofficial original artwork designed in-house and is not approved, endorsed or connected with any other company or brand, if you require an official trade mark design, please do not purchase this item. […]”
and this seller have “11,795 results for Baby Yoda” …
Someone at Disney messed up big time.
They released a show that they should have known was going to be a hit, made it exclusive to their own subscription channel, then aired it on the US version months before other countries could legally watch it.
It should have been a worldwide simultaneous release to minimise piracy, with the t-shirts and toys ready to go. But they didn’t do that, so piracy and unofficial product are rampant.
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