Star Wars: The Force Awakens has gone into an early and bizarre anti-piracy overdrive. Earlier this week a fansite posted an image of a 'Rey' action figure legally bought in Walmart but it was taken down by Facebook and Twitter following a DMCA notice. Meanwhile, webhosts are facing threats of legal action.

When it’s released on December 15, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is likely to become one of the most popular sci-fi films of all time. Even for non-fans, the anticipation can be felt around the entire web.

No surprise then that Disney and Lucasfilm, the two main companies behind the behemoth, are gearing up for an aggressive anti-piracy campaign should, heaven forbid, the movie leak onto the Internet.

While that is completely understandable, over the past 48 hours the companies have been taking action to aggressively protect their rights in a way that is probably not supported by the law.

The problems began earlier this week when fansite Star Wars Action News posted an update to its Facebook page. An excited Justin revealed that he’d just purchased an action figure of ‘Rey‘ from America’s favorite store.

“Have we known this figure was coming? I just found her at Walmart – no other new figures,” he reported.

Crucially, Justin also posted up a couple of pictures of the boxed figure, which he had legally purchased – not stolen – from the store. However, it didn’t remain up for long.

“These pictures were removed from the post,” Justin wrote in an update. “Facebook notified us they deleted the photos after someone reported them for copyright infringement.”

But this is the Internet and things travel – quickly. Jeremy Conrad at Star Wars Unity subsequently reposted the pictures and he too felt the heat, in a much bigger way.

“This morning I woke up to numerous DMCA takedown notices on the @starwarsunity Twitter account, the Facebook account, the Google+ Page, and my personal Twitter for posting the image of an action figure that was legally purchased at Walmart,” Conrad explains.

“My webhost also received a takedown email from them with a threat of a lawsuit of the image wasn’t removed.”

A lawsuit. For displaying an entirely legal photograph. The copyright to which is presumably owned by Justin at Star Wars Action News. But it didn’t stop there.

Acting on behalf of Lucasfilms, anti-piracy outfit Irdeto has been hitting Twitter, not only filing DMCA notices (below, edited) against people who posted the image, but those who dared to RE-TWEET those tweets.

DMCA Takedown Notice

Copyright owner: Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC.
Name: David Gamble
Company: Irdeto
Job title: Operations Manager
Email address:

Description of original work: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Rey (Resistance Outfit) Figurine

Links to original work: n/a

Reported Tweet URL:

Description of infringement: A screen shot of an unreleased figurine for Star Wars: Force Awakens

Description of infringement: A screen shot of an unreleased figurine for Star Wars: Force Awakens

While taking down an image that they don’t own the copyrights to is certainly taking things too far, Lucasfilm appear to have their reasons for doing so.

We’re not Star Wars experts here at TF but from what we understand there is an item printed on the Rey toy packaging that fans of the series will not want to see. That’s why we’re not publishing that picture in all its glory.

That being said, this story would not be complete without referencing the image that has caused all the fuss. With a double-helping of SPOILER WARNINGS and a DON’T BLAME US on top, those who wish to see the image can do so here.