In the midst of the current civil unrest in the United States, voices on Twitter have been eager to tell The Walt Disney Company ways in which it could do more. One of those ways is by suing for copyright infringement.
As footage of protesters clashing with police spread across social media, users noticed that several of the police officers had the logo for Marvel’s The Punisher on their uniforms and riot gear. People are now taking to Twitter demanding that Marvel Studios and its parent company, Disney, crack down on the use of The Punisher icon.
Most fans are calling the police out for grossly misrepresenting the comic book series. While one can see that it is an intimidating symbol, the actual Punisher, Frank Castle, lost all faith in the justice system, and makes police officers appear ready to resort to the violent vigilante actions of the anti-hero. Others go so far as to say the logo resembles that used by the SS in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
To me, it's disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system. – Gerry Conway (co- creator of The Punisher) https://t.co/6NwHsH1Yql
— Matt (@mattmanexe) June 4, 2020
A writer of the comic book series Matt D. Wilson came out on Twitter demanding that Disney immediately force police to stop using the logo and sue police departments if they continue to do so.
He said: “If Disney and Marvel really want to make a big gesture right now (besides committing $100 million to causes instead of 5), they could immediately demand police stop using the Punisher logo and sue departments that continue to.”
If Disney and Marvel really want to make a big gesture right now (besides committing $100 million to causes instead of 5), they could immediately demand police stop using the Punisher logo and sue departments that continue to
— Matt D. Wilson (@TheMattDWilson) June 3, 2020
Another Twitter user mentioned that Disney has sued other people for using their IPs before, and it was arguably not as justified as such an action would be today:
Disney famously sued a daycare over murals featuring their characters.
How about suing police departments who’ve co-opted the Punisher skull?
— Eric Palicki (@ericpalicki) June 3, 2020
But it should be noted that Disney and Marvel apparently have not been ignoring this issue.
One Twitter user made note of this saying, “Marvel and Disney have repeatedly had lawyers sent departments letters about the use of the Punisher logo, but they probably need to step it up to actual lawsuits.”
Marvel and Disney have repeatedly had lawyers sent departments letters about the use of the Punisher logo, but they probably need to step it up to actual lawsuits. The real problem here is that cops get to do literally anything they want in American society; a C&D won't stop them https://t.co/kagtkwDF0g
— Nathan Bernhardt (@jonbernhardt) June 4, 2020
At this point, only time will tell if Disney decides to take stronger action against the use of their property beyond issuing cease and desist letters.