Amy Schumer is one of today’s most popular comedy performers, featuring in a successful Comedy Central sketch series, and who is starring in director Judd Apatow’s latest film opening this weekend. Although many people seem to really enjoy her antics, one organization has come forward to publicly denounce the content in her photo shoot from the latest issue of GQ Magazine: the stewards of Star Wars, Lucasfilm.
In a tweet from the official Star Wars Twitter account, representatives of Lucasfilm have called Schumer’s sexually suggestive Star Wars-themed gallery of photos “inappropriate,” and made very clear that they had nothing to do with Schumer or GQ’s decision to run such material based on the popular media franchise. Disney released the tweet after some fans on the social media site expressed apparent outrage over the racy photos.
@TreeshiaCee Lucasfilm and Disney did not authorize, participate in or condone the inappropriate use of our characters in this manner.
— Star Wars (@starwars) July 16, 2015
You can see the cover of the GQ issue in question below, which should give an effective idea of what the content within is like.
Although Disney does not condone the use of their characters in this manner, Schumer and GQ‘s use of the Star Wars franchise in a comedic way is likely protected under parody law. In 1994, a United States Supreme Court case helped determine that use of parody often falls under the doctrine of fair use, which is basically a limitation on copyright holders’ exclusive use of a property they own when used in a limited fashion, and when the use of copyrighted work then creates an entirely new work which seeks to comment on the existing property in a different way.
Whether or not Disney is incensed enough to pursue legal action against Schumer and/or GQ is an entirely other question, but Disney has demonstrated a severe resolve in protecting their copyrights in the past, so much so that there’s a federal law on the books of the United States that is referred to by some as “the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” Still, even being a mighty force in the entertainment world, it seems unlikely that they’d do a whole lot more than publicly distance themselves from the photos.
Schumer’s new film Trainwreck is in theaters now.
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