Showing posts with label Day of the Dead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Day of the Dead. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Disney Offends Latinos With Bid to Trademark Traditional Holiday Name

On May 1, Disney filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect the phrase "Día de los Muertos," or "Day of the Dead," across multiple platforms. 

Disney subsidiary Pixar is apparently releasing a film -- with the working title "The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dia de los Muertos" -- this fall.

Here's the issue -- Día de los Muertos is a traditional holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2 in Mexico and across Latin America.

People honor the lives of lost family members or friends by building altars, holding processions, decorating gravesites and placing offerings for loved ones.

Based on its trademark application, Disney hoped to secure the rights to the title "Day of the Dead" and such themed merchandise as fruit preserves, fruit-based snacks, toys, games, clothing, footwear, backpacks, clocks and jewelry.

But the Latino community has raised serious questions about the application on social media.

On Tuesday, a petition was started on to stop the Disney effort, stating that the attempt to trademark Día de los Muertos was "cultural appropriation and exploitation at its worst." As of today, the petition has over 21,000 signatures.

In 2003, the Day of the Dead celebration was entered on the UNESCO list of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

"The Indigenous Festivity dedicated to the Dead are deeply rooted in the cultural life of the indigenous peoples of Mexico," UNESCO has said.

But after the backlash, Disney withdrew its application this week.

"The trademark [was] intended to protect any potential title of the movie or related activity," a spokeswoman for Disney said. "Since then, it has been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our application for trademark registration."

Disney did not comment on whether social media reactions directly led to the decision to withdraw the application.  This isn't the first time Disney has sought to trademark a controversial phrase.

In 2011, it tried to secure "SEAL Team Six," the Navy SEAL team that captured and killed Osama bin Laden, seeking exclusive rights for use on items from video games to backpacks. However, after receiving an overwhelming response from critics, Disney withdrew the application "out of deference to the Navy."