Last week, while fans of the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian were wondering whether or not official toys and merchandising featuring their favorite new character would be available before Christmas, unofficial GIFs of said character were being celebrated on the popular website GIPHY. Or, at least they were being celebrated… until all of the entertainment media and fan-uploaded GIFs were suddenly removed for some unknown reason. Some suspected Disney’s involvement, though an official statement from the GIF-making and -sharing website suggests otherwise.
Officially known as “The Child,” the character more popularly known as “baby Yoda” has been so loved and accepted by The Mandalorian‘s viewers that Vulture published an article featuring dozens of GIFs of the cuddly one. The GIFs weren’t officially created, sanctioned, or shared by Disney or Lucasfilm, but seeing as how “fair use” in copyright law allows anyone to make and upload GIFs from their favorite pop culture properties, this shouldn’t have been a problem. At least, that was until GIPHY removed all of the GIFs Vulture had made for the article.
Vulture‘s Kathryn VanArendonk, IGN, and other outlets speculated GIPHY removed the GIFs after Disney’s legal team filed DMCA notices requesting that the baby Yoda GIFs be removed. However, on Monday, GIPHY released a statement in which they apologized for the “confusion” surrounding the GIFs’ removal and issued an apology:
Last week, there was some confusion around certain content uploaded to GIPHY and we temporarily removed these GIFs while we reviewed the situation. We apologize to both Disney and Vulture for any inconvenience, and we are happy to report that the GIFs are once again live on GIPHY.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the disappearing and reappearing baby Yoda GIFs weren’t sourced in some kind of intervention on Disney’s part. As Gizmodo aptly noted, the company “has been known to overreach time and again when it comes to copyright,” and with a subsidiary as big as Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, it’s not too much of a stretch to suspect their involvement in GIPHY’s apparent mistake. Either way, everything is fine now because Vulture‘s store of baby Yoda GIFs is back and everything is completely normal. Nothing to see here, folks.
disney is removing this image from the internet for copyright reasons, pirate it now pic.twitter.com/ZZbOkTPpbw
— leon (@leyawn) November 25, 2019