By Corey Mack on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Toyota, the world's largest auto company, highly touted for it's quality and customer service, may have just crossed a line. Last week, the company's lawyers started threatening communications with DesktopNexus to take down all Toyota, Lexus, or Scion wallpapers or risk copyright infringement litigation. DesktopNexus is a site that serves as a creative outlet for all people who wish to share a comment on user submitted wallpapers.

Two Crumbling Pillars

The two pillars of the "Toyota Way" are Respect for Others and Continuous Improvement, by Toyota proceeding in the way it has over the past week, the company has opened itself to much criticsism. Suddenly claiming that images of your products, which are sold world wide, can't be used or altered is disrespectful to your most loyal customers and the "Toyota Way" itself. The fact that Toyota is choosing to pick on the 'little guy' is in itself odd since the company was the 'little guy' in the industry less than two decades ago. Even more strange, is that the "little guy'" Toyota is picking on is their customers. Some of the content on this website is widely available across the interent while other content is unique to the users who created it. According to the site's owner, Toyota claims that "all images featuring Toyota vehicles should be removed, even images with copyright belonging to others.”

For a company known for continuous improvement and moving forward, these actions represent a huge step backwards. Owners and enthusiasts alike are heated over what Toyota is doing, as their most faithful customers have already said that this will be their last Toyota. In an excerpt from an interview at TorrentFreak, one commenter stated he was about to lease a 2008 Camry but this made him decide to go with a Civic. In a time when auto sales are at their lowest in nearly a decade, why is Toyota wasting it's time and resources over something so small and "bass ackwards".

Who Loses

Toyota: Is already losing, as word of this is reaching viral status. Enthusiasts and new car buyers will begin to look at the Toyota crest as tarnished and a symbol of how big the company's ego has become.

Toyota's Customers: Will now start considering the offerings of other manufacturers, some could migrate to lower quality vehicles. Some will have a lost sense of pride as they ride to work everyday in their Priuses. If Toyota is successful, lawful users will be limited the wallpapers offered on the company's website.

Free Flow of Information: If Toyota takes this to court and wins, this will set precedent for other not so smart automakers to claim images of their vehicles from their fans. Creativity will be stiffled as people now wonder if they could be sued for posting a picture of their own car on the internet.

TheCD's take

As a former Toyota intern, I am really shocked with how serious Toyota is taking this issue. It is a complete about-face to what I, and many others, thought this company stood for. Because of this, The College Driver will be contacting Toyota to see if we can clear any of this up.


Source: Torrent Freak

Thanks Nick Q