Disney+ ‘Star Wars’ Day Plans Have Fans Worried About Legal Action On #MayThe4th

Every May 4 is Star Wars Day, because you can say, “May the 4th be with you” and it sounds like “May the force be with you.” Star Wars Day 2020 is going to be special for a lot of reasons. It will be the first May 4th since the Skywalker saga ended with The Rise of Skywalker. Disney+ is planning a Mandalorian documentary and moved the season finale of Clone Wars to the 4th. Oh, and Disney might sue you for tweeting #MayThe4th now.

Star Wars Day on Disney+
Disney+ | Disney

Disney+ tweeted preview of their Star Wars Day plans, and they included a legal disclaimer. They have since clarified what they meant, but it had some fans worried that the Mouse was now exerting control over anyone who tweeted #MayThe4th.

Disney+ solicited ‘Star Wars’ memories for #MayThe4th.

On April 27, the official Disney+ account asked fans to share their favorite Star Wars memories for Star Wars Day. Sounded harmless enough.

“Celebrate the Saga!” Disney+ tweeted. “Reply with your favorite #StarWars memory and you may see it somewhere special on #MayThe4th.”

#MayThe4th Mandalorian Documentary
The Mandalorian | Disney/Lucasfilm

They got over 3000 replies with a few sincere memories, but mostly people angry about the Sequel Trilogy.

The next tweet took all the fun out of ‘Star Wars’ Day

Disney+ followed their Star Wars Day tweet with some not so fine print. It turns out Disney wants the rights to #MayThe4th tweets. 

“By sharing your message with us using #MayThe4th, you agree to our use of the message and your account name in all media and our terms of use here: http://disneytermsofuse.com,” Disney+ tweeted.

The Mandalorian documentary | Disney/Lucasfilm

This Twitter user mocked Disney’s attempt to legally own a hashtag. “My favorite Star Wars memory would have to be the time Disney tried to lay legal claim to every tweet on Twitter that used a particular hashtag,” they wrote, adding “#MayThe4th.”

Filmmaker Phil Lord, co-director of The Lego movie and 21/22 Jump Street disapproved of Disney’s tactic for monopolizing Star Wars Day too.

This user gave them a tongue lashing. “You cannot make *use* of a hash tag you didn’t start and don’t own consent to an EULA, you absolute IP ghouls,” he wrote before swearing at them. 

This user dragged Disney’s controversial history of copyright claims into it. “#MayThe4th remind everyone that Disney has effectively destroyed how copyright law should work so they can milk franchises for possibly hundreds of years while creating a scenario where small content creators have their livelihoods threatened for snippets of songs and movies,” wrote “Walt” @_watsu.

Don’t worry, it’s still safe to tweet #MayThe4th

There was enough confusion that Disney+ added a third tweet to their #MayThe4th thread. It turns out the legal disclaimer only applied to direct replies to their Star Wars Day tweet using the hashtag.

It’s clear that Disney+ is planning some sort of compilation of tweets. That hardly seems worth all the bad buzz this generated. Plenty of ad campaigns use tweets. Posting a message that any reply gives Disney ownership of that tweet is a bit extreme. Normally, marketing firms reach out to the authors of a tweet and ask for permission to use it.