Disney refused to allow a family to put Spider-Man on a 4-year-old’s grave

via Chochilino / Twitter

The Walt Disney company is notorious for the way it aggressively protects its brand and trademarks. It's been called the "most powerful brand in the world," in part due to how it guards its intellectual property by any means necessary.

According to lawyers from the Michael Jackson estate, Disney's "zeal to protect its own intellectual property from infringements, real or imagined, often knows no bounds."

Now, the company is taking heat for going so far to protect a copyright that it has denied a simple request from a father whose young son recently died.


Ollie Jones lost his life to leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease, last December at the age of four. Ollie was a massive fan of Spider-Man, a Marvel character owned by the Walt Disney Corporation.

The boy's father, Lloyd Jones, thought it would be fitting to have the superhero looking over his son, so he designed a tombstone featuring Spider-Man to appear at his grave site at Maidstone Cemetery in Kent, England.

via GoodingFuneralServs/Twitter

However, a local council of Maidstone, U.K. said it needed permission from Disney to create the tombstone due to potential copyright infringement. Disney denied the request, citing a rule handed down by Walt Disney himself. While he was alive, Disney banned the use of Disney characters on graves, tombstones, and other memorial markers.

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"His coffin was covered in Spider-Man, the procession was led by someone dressed as Spider-Man, this would really mean the world to us," his father told Yahoo. "I didn't expect it to be an issue – my funeral director, who's also my friend, rang me and told me they can't do it. I thought he was joking at first."

via Lloyd Jones / Facebook

"We extend our sincere condolences. If we played a small part in Ollie's happiness we are honored," a Disney representative said in a statement.

"Generations of fans have responded to our characters with the same wonder and delight that Ollie did. In fact, many believe the characters to be real. We have striven to preserve the same innocence and magic around our characters that brought Ollie such joy. For that reason, we follow a policy that began with Walt Disney himself that does not permit the use of characters on headstones, cemetery or other memorial markers or funeral urns."

RELATED: Disney will hold its first official Pride event this year because the Happiest Place on Earth is for everyone

Disney's dedication to protecting its brand, even if it means breaking the hearts of a grieving family, struck many on social media as a cruel gesture. Reddit users responded by trashing Disney with memes.

via Redpandaca / Reddit

via Pathetticcat / Reddit

via Ondra01 / Reddit


via Meme-Mage / Reddit

via I_am_unique_6435 / Reddit

Multiple Twitter users noted that characters in Disney movies — especially its Marvel films — die all the time.

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Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

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Pete the Plant is a maidenhair fern living in the Rainforest Life exhibit at the London Zoo, but Pete the Plant isn't like other plants. Pete the Plant is also a budding photographer. Scientists in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) conservation tech unit has been teaching the plant how to take selfies.

The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

RELATED: This plant might be the answer to water pollution we've been searching for

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