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Twitter takes Disney handle away from user

Cheri Thomas was an early adopter of Twitter. She’s also a fan of the Walt Disney Company, so when she saw that the @Disney handle was available, she took it, and thousands of Disney fans, myself included, have been jealous ever since.

A few days ago Cheri found out that Twitter had taken that user name away from her:

The twitter rules state:

*Impersonation: You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others

Cheri was not doing that. She was a Disney fan and was using the handle as such.

*Trademark: We reserve the right to reclaim user names on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal claim or trademark on those user names. Accounts using business names and/or logos to mislead others will be permanently suspended.

This is where Cheri runs into trouble. But it doesn’t mean that Twitter had to claim the @Disney handle for Disney. Cheri was not using it in any manner that would confuse her with the Walt Disney Company. Her name was on the account, she never acted as if she was a part of the Walt Disney Company or any of it’s facets. She was just on twitter before Disney was and beat the company to it’s own name.

Twitter needs to do the right thing and give Cheri Thomas her Twitter user name back. There is no need to rip it from her when there are countless other Disney accounts that are already owned and used by the Walt Disney Company. They have the ability to communicate as much as they want through those avenues. Cheri only had the one channel, the channel that featured her life and her love of Disney.

I’m going to ask around and see if someone can explain why the username was taken from Cheri and exactly what rights Disney has to their trademark in this situation.

Obviously, in the end Twitter can do what they want. Disney is always an 800lb monster in the corner and you pretty much have to do what they say or be prepared for the consequences. But this is just uncool and the act of a bully.