Monday, 16 May 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #725: This Blog Is Now The Property of The Walt Disney Corporation

Thanks to reader Kit Johnson who reminded me about this story.

If you're too lazy to click the link I'll sum it up for you. The Walt Disney Company, the world's biggest purveyor of family friendly entertainment and related merchandise has filed applications to register the name, crest, and any affiliated symbols of Seal Team 6, the special forces unit that recently took out Usama Bin Ladin.

This raises a couple of questions for me that I think the folks at Disney have forgotten to ask.



Can They?

Now let's look deeper into those questions.


What does Disney expect to accomplish with registering everything about Seal Team 6 as their property? Their last attempt to tackle the ripped from the headlines subject matter of terrorism and American foreign policy, ABC's mini-series
The Path To 9/11, was such a political hot-potato the company took it after it's initial airing and buried it somewhere beneath Robert Iger's backyard swimming pool.

Also we have to remember that Disney has been phasing out anything with a rating harsher than PG, and prefers things to be G-Rated, and involve cute characters that can become merchandise they can sell at Christmas-time.

Any movie or TV show that climaxes with a gangly psychopath getting his face blown off with
an assault rifle is not going to be G-Rated. While young boys would think that heavily armed Navy Seal action figures would be cool, I doubt they'd mesh well with Disney's Princesses, and let's not forget the anti-violent toy/game parents groups who love raising hell as much as that gaggle of malcontents who flood the FCC with letters everyone mutters a bit of the ye-olde Anglo Saxon on TV.

Which brings me back to the original question.


The only reason I can think of is that while Disney might not be able to profit properly from owning Navy Seal Team 6, they sure as hell are going to make sure that no one else does.

Now the second question.


Something about
this doesn't pass the smell test. I mean if Disney succeeds, then I could literally walk down to the trademark registration office and apply to own the name, logos, and bric-a-brac of the US Marine Corps.

Now if I did that, I'd expect to not only be visited in the night by grumpy Marines forced to pay me to wear their "globe & anchor" that they earned in the field of battle, but by lawyers from the US government saying that I was violating the property rights of the United States government.

I assume, and I might be making an ass of you and me, that such material of the US military is the property of the US military, and not of any corporation that can swan in and take it, because they have a lot of loud lawyers with fat retainers.

I fully expect this application to be challenged in the courts. How it will end though, is anyone's guess.


  1. As for how they can do it..

    It's not, quite, the same thing as claiming the US Marine Corp.

    Mainly because everybody knows, and the government acknowledges, that there is, in fact, a US Marine Corp.

    Now I know that the politicians are falling all over themselves congratulating a group of _VERY_ well trained young men called 'Seal Team 6'.

    Problem is there is no such thing as 'Seal Team 6'. Just ask them. (the Navy, I mean.)

    Hard to fight a copyright claim against something that officially doesn't exist and you don't want to talk about.

    I wish they would file a claim about 'Seal Team', though.

    Leaving off the number, Seal Teams are public domain and private companies should not be allowed to privatize the brand, such as it is.

  2. True, there are fine points of law like the ones you mention that could make it possible. But there is an entire "look like an asshole" factor that I don't think Disney put much thought into.

  3. Blast Hardcheese17/5/11 10:17 am

    The existence of SEAL Team 6 may not be officially recognized by the Navy, but it is certainly in the public eye. There's the "Rogue Warrior" bio by Richard Marcinko where he detailed how he brought the team into being. (I'm assuming, for the moment, that the bio is entirely accurate). I know copyright and trademark aren't the same thing, but I can't see how you could trademark something already mentioned in a book that you had nothing to do with writing.

    I would also LOVE to see the Disney lawyers trying to serve a cease-and-desist order to Marcinko. The dude had multiple legal battles with the US Navy, you think he's scared of a mouse?

  4. Disney, what are they planning one a Disney Channel series about some Teen SpecOps force fighting terrorists. maybe we can get Jonas Bros or better yet make this a new series for Demi Lovato when she feels confident to get behind the camera. Seen her new Bikini body, she's got the figure for THRILLING COMBAT ACTION.