On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)

On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)

May Fourth is Star Wars Day, just because of the above pun. 🙂

I took a look at it last year in February

The e-books are strong in this one…Star Wars for the Kindle

and specifically, in a search for

Star Wars in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

got 1,559 results.

Today, I’m getting 2,128!

That’s up by about a third, about 500 titles.

Of course, with a new movie coming out later this year, that could be having an impact.

Generally, these are from big publishers…but there are some that concern me.

I try to be careful not to falsely accuse anyone of anything.

There are, though, some Star Wars titles which are available through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which would strike me as odd if they are actually authorized titles.

Now, Lucasfilm has generally been tolerant of fanfic (fan fiction), although it needs to be that…not sold for profit, in competition with authorized Star Wars books.

Disney, though, is emphatically not known for not asserting its rights.

I knew of a college which was doing Peter Pan. They tried to be careful not to infringe on the Disney version in the promotional posters.

However, they got a notice from Disney…they had used “Disney Dust” on the poster (I think to show where Tinkerbell had flown by, even though it didn’t depict her).

They were told to they had to get all of the posters back from around town, with an allowance of something like 10 percent for ones that had fallen down.

That’s how I remember the story.

At our (now adult) kid’s elementary school, the children would bring in movies that the class would watch when it was raining and they couldn’t go aside.

The school got a cease and desist from Disney lawyers…and only from Disney, not from other studios. It’s a public performance in that case, and this was a private school…so arguably, the students were paying to see the movies.

People always ask me how Disney knew…presumably, one of the parents (or other legal guardian) alerted them, or it was an employee of the school.

I think you can even get bounty on doing things like that, sometimes.

Honestly? I’m guessing there might be a purge of allegedly infringing titles as we get closer to The Force Awakens in December.

The fifth-ranked book in the listing (sorted by New & Popular) is one of these titles…and listed at $2.99. It says it is fourteen pages long, and some of the reviewers mention how short it is.

Six of the twelve reviews at time of writing (exactly half) are 1-star reviews. Interestingly, five of them are five stars…

It appears that one author has twelve KU-eligible Star Wars titles…three of which have an average rating of 1-star.

They range in price from $4 to $6.99.

I do hope that someone from Disney notices them, if they are unauthorized and infringing. Not that I want anything bad to happen to someone, but just that the books are withdrawn from sale. When my own work has been infringed, that’s all I really wanted.

Could they be unauthorized and not infringing?

If they are parodies, yes, but they don’t appear to be that. A parody has to be a form of criticism of the original work to be considered Fair Use, and these don’t look like that.

It’s possible that they are authorized…but given what the reviews are saying about the quality of the books, I wouldn’t expect that to be the case.

In this case, it’s also very likely that trademarks are involved…I can’t imagine that hasn’t been done.

Update: one of today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is up to 80% off (each) for any of 25 Star Wars books.

There are some interesting titles in this promotion…none of the ones which I suggested above might bear review by the rightsholders, of course. 🙂

A few stand-outs:

  • Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown (4.7 stars out of 5 | 781 customer reviews)…and Vader’s Little Princess, also by Brown
  • Star Wars Omnibus Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1 by
    John Jackson Miller (Author), Dave Marshall (Editor), Brian Ching (Illustrator), Travel Foreman (Illustrator), Dustin Weaver (Illustrator), Harvey Tolibao (Illustrator) (collecting issues 0-18 of the Marvel comic (4.7 stars | 19 reviews)
  • Star Wars: Rebel Force: Target [Kindle Edition]
    Alex Wheeler (3.6 stars | 5 reviews): this is the first in this series (others in the series are also part of this deal…note that this one is also in Kindle Unlimited). I’m a little disappointed that the Han Solo book is “Renegade”, the Luke Skywalker book is “Target”, and the Princess Leia book is “Hostage”. Renegade is something you do. Target is someone else attempting to do something to you. Hostage makes you the (generally inactive) item in a conflict between two other entities…that doesn’t define this atypically portrayed princess for me very well

You might wonder why this was an update: the blog runs on Greenwich time (since I have readers all over the world), and Amazon runs on Pacific time. So, I did first publish this on May the Fourth…it just wasn’t May the Fourth yet in Seattle. 🙂

What do you think? What do you want to have happen to someone who infringes? Is a withdrawal of sale enough, or do you want to see penalties? Financial costs, jail, or both? If a work is set in the world of Star Wars, but does not use existing plots, do you think that is infringing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.



14 Responses to “On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)”

  1. Joe Bowers Says:

    Greetings, Bufo!
    May the Fourth be with you, gonna get my geek on!
    Have a good one,
    Joe Bowers

  2. jjhitt Says:

    Subject: Report of Suspected Infringement
    Date: Mon, 4 May 2015 07:15:59 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Disney Antipiracy
    To: YouKnowWho

    Thank you for your correspondence. If you contacted us to report a suspected misuse of our intellectual properties we want you to know that we appreciate the time you took to bring this matter to our attention. We protect our intellectual property rights vigorously and we take reports of suspected infringement seriously. However, as you can appreciate, investigations are confidential. We neither reveal our sources nor generally correspond further with them about any investigation.

    Please feel free to use our email address (tips@disneyantipiracy.com) or our Antipiracy voice mail hotline, 818-560-3300, if you want to provide more information about the suspected infringement or to report a suspected infringement in the future.

    Very truly yours,

    Antipiracy Group, Corporate Legal

    The Walt Disney Company
    500 South Buena Vista Street
    Burbank, CA 91521-1378



    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I see from your second comment that this probably in response to you reporting the books I mentioned.

      I suspect we may now see them disappear from the Kindle store within a few days (I’m still seeing them this morning).

  3. jjhitt Says:

    Yeah… I snitched. Do I care about Disney going broke? No, but I do care about the quality of items available for the Kindle and when I looked at the author’s other titles it was pretty clear they were not giving people their money’s worth.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      For me, it’s never about Disney making money (even though I used to be a stockholder). It’s about respecting authors and their licensees.

      You raise an interesting point, though: would a high quality infringement be less of a concern than a low quality one? There’s no legal difference, really, but the argument could be made that a low quality one is more damaging to the brand.

      • jjhitt Says:

        I know we’re on different sides of the IP/copyright fence, but no, I wouldn’t be bothered if the consumer got a half-way decent deal.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        Vive la différence! 😉 I always like a diversity of opinions. As you can guess, the quality of the infringing work doesn’t affect my opinion of the infringement. However, I believe some infringing works have later become authorized, or at least acknowledged, so there is that.

        Those books still appear to be there, but it can take a little while.

  4. jjhitt Says:

    “Disney Dust” — I wish there was some sort of vehicle to penalize or punish Disney for their mangling of classic stories. From the Brother’s Grimm to Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland to The Little Mermaid.

    They were classics for generations without needing someone to take all the references to sex and death out of them.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      Without permanent copyright, there really isn’t much to do. Under the public domain system, Disney owns those works just as much as you do…or the heirs of the family do, or society at large.

      Of course, Thomas Bowdler was “cleaning up” literature in the early 19th Century…and I’m sure there were “clean” versions of those fairy tales before Disney. 🙂

      One other thing…Disney never takes death out of a movie! Famously, Disney character’s parents die right and left. I’m guessing that the Disney character “fact sheet” for each one has a “fill in the blank” for “parent(s)’ death”. 😉

      • jjhitt Says:

        One of many favorite lines from Peter Pan:

        “After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy.”

        Barrie was an odd one.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        Just to clarify (and you probably know), an orgy doesn’t necessarily mean sex. Perhaps they were unsteady from too much dancing…

        One of my favorite quotes from Peter Pan is

        “…Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

        Fortunately, some of us appear to be able to grow up and still appreciate magic. Hm…that gives me an idea for something…thanks!

  5. Lady Galaxy Says:

    My The Fourth will ever be with us! Even Jeopardy paid homage with a category on today’s program.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I honestly think the Star Wars characters will be as long lasting as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Given our ability to access creative works in such a different way than in the past, I think everything may have a longer “shelf life”…if Disney hadn’t done Alice and Peter (now, there’s a mash up that could work!), would they be as prominent in our culture now? Intriguing question…

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