Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hasbro shuts down Equestria Girls

If you guys recall a while back Hasbro filled a trademark on the name "Equestria Girls" If not you can read the article here from Equestria Daily. We found out today that Hasbro put out a DMCA request to the URL which featured an embedded youtube player that would play the song. We found out today that Hasbro sent a DMCA request and here is what's interesting about this one. They are even taking the domain name from the current Brony owner! You can find a copy of the site here before the DMCA request before Hasbro gets it

(read more below)

The current owner of the site posted the following to the homepage which is a copy of the email they recieved.


(Contact information removed) Re: DMCA Notice: Infringement of Hasbro??s

MY LITTLE PONY?? Copyrights and Trademarks

Dear (name removed):

We are counsel for Hasbro, Inc. and Hasbro Studios LLC (??Hasbro??), the owners of the copyrights and trademarks for the MY LITTLE PONY?? line of toy ponies and related cartoons, including the FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC?? animated television series. We write because we believe you provide hosting services for<>, which is a website that consists solely of unauthorized episodes of Hasbro??s FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC series. We would write directly to the site owner, however there is no contact information on the website, and the domain registration information is privacy protected. There is no non-infringing content on the website:<>

Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (??DMCA??) we have a good faith belief that the unauthorized copying, display and distribution of Hasbro??s MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC episodes on infringes Hasbro??s copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property rights, and is not authorized by Hasbro, its agents, or the law. We are authorized to act on Hasbro??s behalf regarding these matters. The information provided in this communication is accurate to the best of my knowledge and is provided under penalty of perjury.

On behalf of Hasbro, we therefore request that you immediately remove or disable access to the<> website.

We would also appreciate it if you forwarded this correspondence to the website owner (we have copied the privacy protection service on this as well) so that we can start the process of transferring the domain name registration to Hasbro. ??Equestria Girls?? is the name of a MY LITTLE PONY promotional video and is widely and exclusively associated with Hasbro and Hasbro Studios.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. This letter does not purport to be a complete statement of the facts or the law and is without prejudice to Hasbro??s legal and equitable rights.
Sincerely yours,

(Further names and contact information removed)

Relevant sections bolded for emphasis. Note that:
  • The takedown request claims that this website contained only episodes of the TV show. The sole content on this site was an embedded YouTube video.
  • Hasbro intends to "transfer" the domain from me. This is tantamount to stealing. If they'd asked nicely, I would have given them the domain, sure. However, they seem to believe that the only way to handle anything is through litigious means.
  • Hasbro now owns a trademark for "Equestria Girls" (actually two, one for "toy ponies" and another for "dolls" and also related to the TV show) — however, this website predates this trademark by more than a year and a half, dating back to May 25, 2011. It was created just after the Equestria Girls clip was originally released. Further, the embedded YouTube videos (which, I should point out, were never hosted on this site directly) were posted on May 25, 2011 (original) and May 27, 2011 (extended – sent by the Hub to fan site Equestria Daily, specifically to share with the fandom).
  • By extension of this takedown request, Sethisto's action of posting that video onto YouTube is presumably also "not authorized by Hasbro" — maybe they should send a DMCA claim to themselves for unauthorized distribution of their own content.
  • In this takedown notice, they misspelled the domain name once. Just saying.
The timing of this takedown notice suggests to me that Hasbro is just now looking around the internet for any and all uses of the name "Equestria Girls" in response to their recent trademark acquisition, without any regard to the history of the video clip in question. This is unfortunate, and this action speaks clearly as an attack on the very fandom that they helped create, and which by the creation of this video, they responded to with subtle approval. I believe if someone were to take a survey of one thousand My Little Pony fans who were involved with the fandom at the time this video was released, they would unanimously associate the name "Equestria Girls" as well as the video clips in question much more strongly with the fandom itself than with Hasbro Studios. This takedown, and a number of other recent legal actions on Hasbro's part, are doing little to preserve their intellectual property, and much to damage the fandom that they created.

We have contacted Hasbro for a comment but they always ignore sites that are Brony Friendly. Maybe gawker will get a response.

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