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Toyota Demands Removal of Fan Wallpapers 594

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-what-sticks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TorrentFreak reports that Toyota's lawyers have recently contacted computer wallpaper site Desktop Nexus in a blatant example of DMCA abuse. Toyota issued a blanket request to demand the immediate removal of all member-uploaded wallpapers featuring a Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicle (citing copyright violation), regardless of whether Toyota legally holds the copyright to the photos or not. When site owner Harry Maugans requested clarification on exactly which wallpapers were copyrighted by Toyota, he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor."
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Toyota Demands Removal of Fan Wallpapers

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  • its just a car. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcfatboy93 (1363705) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:19AM (#25777111) Homepage
    why do these things always happen like come on its a car. do you see these guys confiscating all pictures of their cars that you take on the high way. i think not.
  • Yeahh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davemania (580154) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:28AM (#25777159) Journal
    Does that mean all the speeding camera are illegal ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:33AM (#25777193)

    Go look at the founder's name, then stop apologizing for the slip :D

  • Re:its just a car. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by capnkr (1153623) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:35AM (#25777205)

    It's not just a car, it's a Scion , you insensitive, un-trendy clod!* ;)

    *(...writes the recent EX owner of a Toyota, who really digs his 10 yr old Saturn SW2, that gets better gas mileage for $2K than most all of these over-hyped "green" cars... Hey, just saying!)

  • Bill and bill alike. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:37AM (#25777213) Journal

    " When site owner Harry Maugans requested clarification on exactly which wallpapers were copyrighted by Toyota, he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor.""

    And then he invoices Toyota for complying with each and everyone of them to the tune of the same dollar amount their bill is. Two can play this game.

  • by bhtooefr (649901) <<gro.rfeoothb> <ta> <rfeoothb>> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:37AM (#25777215) Homepage Journal

    Indeed - Toyota is actually an intentional misspelling, because of the number of strokes for the Japanese characters being luckier or something. It'd be like Henry Ford calling his company the Fort Motor Company, because the word sounded better.

  • Invoice won't fly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tonyray (215820) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#25777259)

    If they receive a proper DMCA notice and remove the offending files then they have no further liability under the law. Toyota is blowing smoke; this is just a typical lawyer scare tactic that has no basis in law.

    Actually, Toyota could be the one billed should Desktop Nexus comply. By demanding that Desktop Nexus identify for Toyota the offending files, one might argue that Toyota was hiring them as a contractor to fulfill Toyota's obligation under the DMCA. To cover themselves, Desktop Nexus should send a proposal to Toyota offering to identify and remove the offending photos, to the best of their ability (thus not guaranteeing to find them all), for, say, $1000 each.

  • by flajann (658201) <flajann.linuxbloke@com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:58AM (#25777339) Homepage Journal
    I've owned a Lexus -- the ES 300 -- for 10 years now and am very happy with how that car has held up. As a result, I've become a die-hard Lexus/Toyota fan, and my next purchase was planned to be the Lexus hybrid model.

    However, in lieu of Toyota's errant behavior and its refusal to keep its lawyers in check for something that only promotes their product, I might consider making my next purchase with one of their competitors instead.

    I would that that, especially in these tumultuous financial down-times, that Toyota and other companies like them would rather enhance their customer loyalty base rather than diminish it.

    So, Toyota, kudos for a great product line, but a thumbs down on your PR with your loyal customers.

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yarcofin (1397091) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:02AM (#25777375)
    The YMCA initially tried suing The Village People for the song "YMCA". Probably the best publicity it ever got. Shows you how smart corporations are...
  • by MrLint (519792) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:09AM (#25777421) Journal

    I thought that a DMCA notice *required* actual specifics of infringing content. Its part of what you have to do when you file a notice. Claiming that your are going to force someone to pay you so that you have to comply with the law seems patently (no pun intended) ridiculous. If your client wants this action done, they pay you (the lawyer) to do what is necessary.

    I get the feeling that the mere fact that they refuse to follow the rules without trying to extort money from the 'defendant', will get them a well deserved legal slap in the face

  • Re:Will Fail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timeOday (582209) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:12AM (#25777439)

    Toyota could only be right if the images they specify were TAKEN BY TOYOTA.

    What is what makes this sentence in the article so bizarre: "The site's owner, Harry Maugans contacted Toyota to clarify. He was told that all images featuring Toyota vehicles should be removed, even images with copyright belonging to others." If that sentence is true, Toyota is admitting it does not hold the copyright to others' images of Toyotas, yet still claiming the right to control copying!

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:00PM (#25777693) Homepage

    Has anyone stopped to consider that Toyota is doing this on purpose *because* they are aware of the Streisand Effect and they are now moving into viral-marketing to save their sales during this economic downturn?

  • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:01PM (#25777697)

    ... he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor."

    My first reaction was, "What idiot laywers, no court would award them that. Maybe they hope that the website won't spend the money to fight them." But I thought about it for a few seconds, and if the onus is on the infringer to make sure that they are not infringing, then it makes sense for them to be billed.

    I'm not saying it is the responsibility of the infringer to be sure they're not infringing, but if that's the case, then it's a little easier to see where this seemingly crazy statement actually came from.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:05PM (#25777719) Journal

    It is the responsibility of the site owner to be able to verify the copyright ownership or licensing status of every image/piece of content on his site.

    I had (have) a site which my webmaster created with what she thought was licensed content. A popular image licensing firm sent her a notice to take down certain images and pay blackmail money^W^W restitution or they would take her to court. She took the images down and they settled; she asked them if there were any other images so that she could make sure she didn't have future liability. Two years later, I got a similar notice, with demands. My legal council (which cost nearly 30% of the amount they wanted, which was in turn about 10x the value of the images used based on their own catalog) who does happen to be an expert in IP law, basically told me I was screwed, and to pony up a check or be looking at 5 to 6 figures of litigation.

    My old webmaster was kind enough to call them up and negotiate about a 20% reduction in the settlement on my behalf.

    The moral of the story is this: If he has infringing content on his site, it is irrelevant whether or not they identify every piece. He has to be able to provide proof of license for every file he has. If he cannot, then he needs to take the images down or face possible ruin in court. This is the hidden failure of the system - there are so many regulations that it is impossible for a small business person to create a startup and know the implications, and ignorance is no defense. I feel for him, but he is (presuming he has actual unlicensed material) effectively screwed.

  • not coward (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:31PM (#25777891)

    I emailed this today to corporate HQ (as if it will help):

    Hey Toyota,
    I just read about you claiming all photos of your products are copyrighted by you EVEN IF COPYRIGHTED BY OTHERS!
    You are forcing the issue on Desktop Nexus, a company I now feel empathy toward but otherwise unknown to me. I tell you what; If you win this one, I will try to get every Toyota product owner in America to send you a bill for free advertising and display of your logo on the cars THEY own!!! Someone better tell your lawyers that free advertising does work! You guys must be crazy.

    Furthermore, my wife and I were just about ready to close a deal on a new Scion tc coup at our local dealership. This incident, if true, has upset me so much as a small business owner, that you can now consider us as a lost sale. I hope many other outraged customers will change your mind about this issue.

    Please pass this along to your local Lynchburg, VA. dealership.

    Sincerely,
    Russll Streeper
    5283 Village Highway
    Lynchburg, VA 24504
     

  • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GospelHead821 (466923) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:42PM (#25777961)

    The sad thing is, this might even be a case of one division of the company not knowing what another division is doing. Lets assume the stupidest possible case. Toyota marketing possibly HAS uploaded to that site and now Toyota legal is harassing them for copyright infringement.

  • Re:its just a car. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by porcupine8 (816071) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:37PM (#25778415) Journal
    Hell yeah, Saturns! We have a 10-year-old SL1 that still gets 35+mpg highway and 25-30mpg in the city. Until a couple years ago it was still getting 40mpg highway. I don't understand why every freaking car made doesn't get this kind of mileage, if ten-year-old cars can get it.
  • Good Timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:56PM (#25778567)

    This couldn't have come at a better time, from my point of view. I'm in the market for a new car. My current car is a Toyota (2000 Celica). My last car was a Toyota. So was the one before that (an '83 Tercel hatchback, as a matter of fact). While still under warranty, the top half of the Celica's engine had to be replaced. It hasn't given me any trouble since (beyond having an appetite for headlights I find a bit disturbing), but somehow it's never enjoyed the same place in my heart as the others.

    For the first time in more than 20 years, I've thought about looking for a new car somewhere besides a Toyota lot. Competitors (even North American ones) have come a long way in the last few years. They now offer the kind of quality and reliability I expect in a car, so there's a lot less reason to pay premium bucks to Toyota. And Toyota parts, when you need them, cost a LOT.

    This incident has made up my mind. Toyota is off my list, and won't receive further consideration. It's exactly the kind of crap I hate: a corporate bully with deep pockets slaps average people across the face, not because there's any compelling reason to do so, but just because it can.

    For once, in a small way, I'm in a position to slap back. My next car won't be one of theirs, nor the one after that...and so on. I'll also have a word with family and friends who may be leaning toward their product: buy elsewhere, help starve a corporate thug.

    By the way, if you reach a similar decision, please feel free to pass this little note on to your local Toyota dealer. I certainly intend to, probably the next time the dealership sends me one of those irritating, "we value your business" letters.

  • Re:Toyota and Sony. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2008 @02:00PM (#25778585)
    Today that's entirely true, but Toyota got were it is by making cars that were far less crappy than American cars. Yes, the gap has closed. There are some very reliable American cars. I own a Chevy Prism. Toyota designed and made in a Toyota factory, in California. When we purchased it, an identical Corolla, made in the same factory was $1500 more. Clearly that difference was branding and had to do with engineering. However, if you look at consumer reports, the Chevy Prism is one of the few reliable cars under the Chevy brand.
  • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Sunday November 16, 2008 @02:46PM (#25778895) Homepage Journal

    My 30 year old pickup, 100% stock, passes California emission tests with flying colours.

    Last time I discovered something important, tho -- the readings depend FAR MORE on how clean the test equipment is, than on your vehicle.

    In 2006, at a popular test station with well-used equipment, my truck BARELY passed, and then only because the tester knew all the tricks (there are ways to goose marginal vehicles into compliance).

    In 2007, at a rarely used and brand-spanking-clean test station, my truck passed with emission levels at only about 1/3rd what the other station's tests showed, without any jiggery-pokery either.

    My truck had absolutely NO work, NO tuning, no NOTHING done to it between the two tests, other than an oil change.

    You gotta wonder how many billions of consumer dollars have been wasted by dirty test equipment. :(

  • Silly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @03:26PM (#25779147) Homepage

    How exactly do they own the copyright to images of their product? I thought that kind of logic applied only to pictures of persons.

    For a simple analogy, let's say you build cars, and someone takes a picture of them. How exactly is his reproduction of those pictures a damage to your ability to market your product? Do you sell pictures? Can people drive his pictures instead of buying your cars? I know it's just an analogy but...

    OH WAIT

  • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @03:37PM (#25779241) Journal

    The court will bill the infringer. It'll just be called an award for damages instead of an invoice. The site isn't the infringer, though; the person who posted the content is (in general, not arguing whether there's any infringement in this particular case).

    If posting pictures of an automobile that I own is infringement does that mean Toyota can sue municipalities who use red light cameras for copyright infringement? ;)

  • Re:its just a car. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fugue (4373) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:02PM (#25781577) Homepage

    Yeah, I know it's cheaper now. Frankly, I'm disgusted. For example, I just got off the phone with a friend in LA who needs to take her car to the mechanic, and physically cannot bike back, because the good people of LA are so addicted to their cars, so blind to any other form of transportation, so deeply and profoundly ass-fucked by their own heads, that there is no way to walk or bike the 3 miles that she needs to go without a car.

    Americans really need to endure higher gas prices for longer, because their greed and laziness know of no other language that will teach them to stop forcing everyone to drive everywhere.

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