If Disney comes to mind each time you think of Mickey Mouse, that is about to change!
Republicans and the animation giant are at each other’s throats over Mickey mouse copyright.
Critics have accused the party of attempting to punish the animation giant for opposing their ‘don’t say gay’ (HB 1557) law. The law restricts classroom topics on gender identity and sexual orientation.
But what’s the big deal with mickey mouse anyway?
First, the big-eared rodent is the most popular cartoon character in the world. There are over 1.3 million Instagram posts with the Mickey Mouse hashtag (#Mickeymouse).
Besides the cartoon character also has over 34 million global Google searches.
Second, the Mickey mouse has been Walt Disney’s symbol since 1928. That’s 94 years! Disney started their first cartoon series with ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
They soon modified Oswald’s appearance, creating a new cartoon character called Mortimer Mouse. Mortimer later became Mickey mouse.
Since then, the mouse has been the Face of Disney, representing everything the brand stands for.
And that includes happiness, fun, and bringing families together.
Disney renewed their exclusive rights to Mickey Mouse in 1984 (after 56 years).
But copyright ownership will expire in two years (January 1, 2024).
Disney and Mickey mouse fans globally expect another renewal.
But Josh Hawley, front liner in the fracas is not backing down anytime soon.
In this article, we will analyze:
- How the Mickey mouse saga started.
- The revenge against Disney.
- The Reedy Creek Improvement District and how it affects Disney.
- How Disney Manage to Bag a 94-year-Old Mickey Mouse Copyright
- Disney’s Stance About the Threat
- How Mickey Mouse has Helped Disney
How the Mickey Mouse Saga Started
On March 28, 2022, the State of Florida signed the HB 1557 bill into law. The Florida Parental Law bans the discussion of gay talk. And everything related to it in classrooms.
At first, Disney was silent when it was only a bill. But when public criticism grew louder, they became vocal. CNBC reported that employees also made rallies against Disney’s nonchalant attitude. So, they held employee workshops about serving the community in that regard.
Disney additionally vowed to donate $5 million to firms that support the LGTBQ+ rights. What was the State of Florida’s response to Disney’s stance? Your guess is as good as mine!
A Revenge Against Disney
Florida’s Governor, Ron De Santis described Disney’s opposition as ‘crossing the line. He explained that the company never called the Florida legislative house speaker. And that they never had a problem when it was only a bill.
“For them to say that they’re going to work to repeal substantive protections for parents, as a company that’s supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children, I think they crossed the line,” he said.
Dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District: A Broader Attempt to Punish Disney
Republicans are trying their best to strike where it hurts! Recently, the Florida Senate passed a bill to terminate the Reedy Creek Republican District (RCID).
RCID has been in place for over 50 years and has been Disney’s stronghold. They handle construction projects like the building of roads. They are also in charge of the fire department service.
Although Disney lacks direct control of the districts, they selected all the boards of supervisors and residents within the district.
But a Democrat Minority Leader, Gary Farmer warned about dissolving the Creek Improvement District. Residents will have to assume the $1 billion – $2 billion liabilities.
Some concerned residents created a lawsuit against the state, claiming they violated Disney’s constitutional rights. But a US district judge has long thrown the case out of court.
So what’s next? Disney stops operating their own local government if the dissolution happens. They’ve held this special privilege since 1967. They also risk paying taxes like everyone else.
Disney’s Influence on the United States Copyright Protection Development
Originally, copyrights to any work should last for 14 years. Right now, you can own copyrights for up to 100 years. Thanks to Disney!
Here’s the question on everyone’s lips. How did Disney manage to change the United States copyright laws to suit its plans?
Several analysts have tied Disney’s influence on copyright to Micky Mouse. But copyright extension started before the creation of the animated character in 1928.
The Copyright Rights Acts of 1790 made provisions for an extra 14-year term. Although that arrangement only covered maps and books at the time. In 1831, legislators increased copyright ownership to 28 years. And an extra 14-year extension if the owner is alive. In 1909, the 14-year extension was converted to 28 years.
When Mickey Mouse came along in 1928, it already had 56 years of copyright protection in total. The prior copyright protection of 28 years and the additional 28-year extension.
Then Disney started serious lobbying which paid off in 1976. They successfully got Congress to change the total from 56 to 75 years. If the legislation had enforced this deadline, then Mickey Mouse ought to be in the Public domain since 2003.
In 1998, the copyrights Congress pushed Copyrights for corporate works to 95 years. It means by January 1, 2024, Mickey Mouse will be available for other brands.
What’s Disney’s Stance About the Mickey Mouse Threat?
We are not so sure Disney is worried about the 2024 expiration. Here’s why. The copyright expiration only affects the original form of Mickey mouse. And modern audiences consider this type archaic. Disney has since created new versions for Mickey Mouse. They’ve constantly made updates to make it appealing to different audiences. And fans have grown used to it.
If you’re considering claiming copyrights to Mickey Mouse by January 2024, you’ll have the old version. Disney has full copyright access to the reincarnations of Mickey Mouse.
Only long-term nostalgic Disney customers will most likely feel the effect of the expiration.
How Has the Mickey Mouse Copyright Helped Disney World?
Mickey Mouse helped build Disney’s consumers’ brand loyalty; taking advantage of their nostalgia to secure this loyalty. Brands like Apple and Gucci have used cartoon characters to create products for their adult customers.
Republicans and Disney are in a stiff face-off over Mickey Mouse. Critics say the attack on Disney is the lawmakers’ attempt to revenge the HB 1557 opposition. Disney risks losing two crucial strongholds, Mickey mouse which serves as their business. And the Reedy Creek Improvement District with its special privileges.
Do you think Disney will try to push for an extension again considering the current faceoff with legislation? Let’s know in the comment section.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse copyrights expire by January 2024. And Republicans are doing everything to ensure they don’t extend it. Find out why lawmakers are on their case.