First Ford, now Toyota - Suing their customers for taking photos.
Remember when Ford went after a Mustang forum for supposed copyright infringement when their took pics of their own cars for a calendar? Someone at Ford eventually found out what was going on and resolved the situation and made amends with the club.
The automaker clearly owns the car images it created, such as press photos and catalogs. However, Toyota loses some authority over these works when they disseminate them tot he public at large. But let's ignore that for a moment and focus on the other side of content — works created by individuals of Toyota products owned by individuals. An automaker doesn't posses the copyright far a painting of a Toyota Camry produced by an individual and uploaded to the site. They don't have the copyright on an image of a Toyota as shot by someone else, like this shot of someone's personal Highlander.
As Torrent Freak points out, Toyota hasn't sent an official copyright notice to the site but has merely unofficially requested the images be taken down. If they sent a DMCA (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice, there would have to be a discernment between different wallpapers. The desktop site's owner said that Toyota wants to be paid to identify what is and what isn't a photo covered by Toyota's copyrights. The Japanese carmaker can win, essentially, by dragging this out into an expensive legal standoff. But why should they try?
Most of these images are actually used as promotional materials, which means that the company hopes people will share them. Many of them are wallpapers. From what we've seen on the site, most of the wallpapers are created to promote Toyota vehicles. In fact, the only negative images we've seen came after Toyota made this move. It seems strange that they're looking to piss off the same demographic group they created an entire brand to capture. Of course, the Scion Taco Truck will surely bring them back.
Most amusing comment on Jalopnik: "Is someone that bored at Toyota to go after wallpapers on the Internet? Seriously - TOYOTA, WE ARE BORED BY YOUR CARS."
Re: First Ford, now Toyota - Suing their customers for taking photos.
Some junior legal type....... who probalbly interned with Ralph Nader, thought they had a good idea and too much time on their hands. Guess who will be among the first white collar lay-offs at Toyota USA!