And now, for some more disturbing news.
Many people probably remember the video that was submitted from The Hub directly to Equestria Daily a long time ago in the era of the late spring of 2011. A few fans of this video set out to create a website dedicated to the video, nothing complex but a simple pink site that featured the 30 second version of the song on a loop, with a timer showing how long you’ve been on that page.
It seems within the last few days the owners of the site were contacted by Hasbro Legal with a Cease & Desist order, demanding that the website be removed. The legal letter that was received by the team can be found on their website, EquestriaGirls.com along with a little explanation about the situation. Below is a copy of the letter. Also for reference, here is a snapshot of the webpage via the Wayback machine, found here.
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 www.equestriagirls.com<http://www.equestriagirls.com>, 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 equestriangirls.com 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 equestriagirls.com 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 www.equestriagirls.com<http://www.equestriagirls.com> 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.
(contact information removed)
To note Hasbro Inc registered Equestria Girls as a trademark earlier this year, with approval and ownership of the trademark being handed out just about a month ago on December 18th, 2012. You can see the registration here from the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s online website. It should also be pointed out that the above letter is more or less a form letter that we have seen multiple times during past C&D filings, as the owners of the site have pointed out they claim “unauthorized episodes” of Hasbro are posted on this site. While the video is not an actual episode, it is the property of Hasbro Inc and Hasbro Studio LLC.
So in general they are within their full right to remove the site, though it seems somewhat unneeded outside of the fact it contained a 30 second video. More disturbing is the fact they are taking control of the domain without any kind of compensation to the user. It would be understandable if the domain had been registered after the trademark, but as the wayback machine archive will show the website has been around since the start of the 2nd quarter of 2011.
Thanks to Starshine for the heads up on this.
The Friendship is Witchcraft videos have been blocked on YouTube by Hasbro, even after a dispute. These are dark days for fan content.— Sherclop Pones (@SherclopPones) January 16, 2013
And in other news Sherclop Pones announced earlier today via his Twitter (seen above) and Tumblr that the appeal on the Friendship is Witchcraft episodes which were tagged by Hasbro via the automated YouTube ContentID system has been denied. At this time we cannot confirm how the appealing system works, it is assumed that once an appeal is filed on ContentID flagged videos that it becomes the problem of the ContentID holder to review the content and either approve or deny the appeal. So we cannot confirm if it was Hasbro which has denied the appeal, or another automated system. The subject of YouTube’s ContentID and recent take downs was discussed earlier in the month. You can find that article here on DHN.
We’ve also been talking with Spectrum from The Midnight Run and some of our own people on who exactly can view the videos at this time. In general it seems that the video is blocked only to United States residents, meaning people in other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden can still view the videos. We’ve also noticed that when an appeal is filed against ContentID, it seems in general that the video becomes available to all people until a new decision is ruled upon. At this time we’ve found out that Germany is able to see all seven episodes, while only ep 2 and 7 can be seen by Canada.
At this time Sherclops & Crew are sending a second appeal to YouTube.