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Mickey mouse Copyright law

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  • Mickey mouse Copyright law

    Hi all,

    as I was looking for copyright laws on the internet I came across the following piece of information that I considered interesting to share with you. Mickey Mouse character and design was created in 1928 and according to international copyright treaties signed by a vast majority of countries this copyright was going to expire in 2003. By using their influence, Disney lobby managed to change the law, at least in the USA: in 1998 president Clinton signed a law extending this period 20 years more. It sounds weird, but as I understand it, Mickey mouse is now copyrighted in the USA but NOT in the rest of countries, where the applicable law remains the old one. In particular, this means that producing and selling scroll saw patterns or projects based in Mickey mouse is legal outside the USA but not in the USA. A long debate followed after this law and apparently some people will try to prove it illegal in the Supreme court (of the USA).

    More about this can be read here or making google searches:

    I would love to hear your comments.


  • #2
    I've seen this case referred to as the mouse who ate the public domain. As a result of this bogus extension, nothing new will enter the public domain for 20 years. The challenge to the law lost btw. The name of the law that was passed was the "Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act." For a company that has probably made more money than any other off of the public domain, this really bites. Snow White, Cinderella, Stuart Little and a bunch of Disney's other animated features were all based on stories that had fallen into the public domain.
    Unfortunately, I don't think the public as a rule realizes the damage this does. It would be nice if folks just boycotted Disney for this but it's not likely to garner enough support.
    Scrollsaw Patterns Online
    Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


    • #3
      "A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." - Don Corleone, The Godfather


      • #4
        The Canadian RCMP got Disney to promote their Logo and hats, and ...well everything that could be marketed. I understand it was a 5 year contract but I am not sure. I really do not care for people monopolizing on a symbol of our country. Then again I do not imagine people would get too upset one cutting and selling Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty.

        Copyrights are way to complicated!
        "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
        Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


        • #5
          Well, if anyone wants a Mickey Mouse pattern, I suppose I'm one of the best bets around here .

          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


          • #6
            ...if anyone wants a Mickey Mouse pattern..
            Wait a minute.... was that some non-sexual 'double entendre' pun there....

            As usual, gray-haired male completely lost by what the ladies are talking about. {sigh}



            • #7
              Sorry Gill,

              Having seen your dancer's mirror patern, you can't qualify as a Mickey-Mouse pattern maker: You're over qualified for that job.

              (Good one BTW)

              DW788. -Have fun in the shop or it isn't a hobby anymore.

              NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


              • #8

                I didn't directly respond to your question, so here goes.

                I is my opinion that different cultures treat trademarked symbols and icons differently. Mickey Mouse is a trademark icon as well as a copyrighted figure. Legal systems, and enforcement of such market place violations, differ greatly from one sovereign nation to another. Consider just the cultural difference between China and India with respect to the EU for trademark and copyright concerns.

                Small scale trademark violations where the extension is not recognized, could be more hassle for the Disney Corporation than what it is worth. But on the other hand, the Disney Corporation does have a lot of money for lawyers, so who knows?



                • #9
                  for the moment I have no intention to produce such patterns


                  for the moment I have no intention to produce such patterns, the kind of designs I like working are very different. I just wanted to share this information with you and see your opinions.

                  As I see it, the Disney lobby has managed to change the law to keep what in due right was going to belong to all the Americans soon. But things like these are not so surprising after all.



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