Copyright Length And The Life Of Mickey Mouse
from the exploring-the-details dept
Last week, we reported on Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s statement that copyright law has become equal to the life of Mickey Mouse. Tom Bell has a couple of recent posts exploring issues related to Mickey Mouse and copyright, that seem worth exploring, given Rep. Lofgren’s recognition of this fact. While he notes (as we have) that there’s ample evidence to suggest that the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons really are in the public domain, he first explores how the length of copyright has followed the age of Mickey Mouse:
And for what purpose?
Bell notes that Disney honestly wouldn’t lose that much even if there were no copyright on the early Mickey Mouse films. Yes, people would be able to do some new things with the Mickey Mouse found in Steamboat Willie (though, not the more modern Mickey Mouse), but Disney would still hold the trademark on the Mouse and could probably stop plenty of uses.
But, really, the bigger point was made by Boyle, via Twitter, where he noted that we are “the first generation to deny our own culture to ourselves and to drive the point home, he notes that no work created during your lifetime will, without conscious action by its creator, become available for you to build upon. For people who don’t recognize the importance of the public domain and the nature of creativity, perhaps this seems like no big deal. But if you look back through history, you realize what an incredibly big deal it is — and how immensely stifling this is on our culture. And then you realize this is all done under a law whose sole purpose is to “promote the progress” and you begin to wonder how this happened. It goes back beyond Mickey Mouse, certainly, but Mickey and Disney have been huge drivers of this attempt to stifle new culture, all in the name of limiting competition for itself. What a shame.