NEWS: U.S. Senator Warns of Bill to End Disney’s “Special Copyright Protections”

Disney’s name has seldom escaped the news recently.

Mickey Mouse at Chef Mickey’s!

From the situation with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill (which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) to the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, comments made about Disney’s “Reimagine Tomorrow” employee training, and changes in Disney’s communications leadership — there’s been a lot going on. Now, it seems Disney has become the subject of something else and the focus of one particular U.S. Senator.

Josh Hawley, a U.S. Senator for the state of Missouri, recently posted a message on Twitter regarding Disney and U.S. copyright protections. In it, Hawley said “For years, Disney has gotten special copyright protections from the federal government – allowing them to charge consumers more.”

Hawley went on to say, “Woke corporations shouldn’t get sweetheart deals. I’ll introduce legislation this week to end their special protections.”

Hawley did not specifically identify what “special copyright protections” Disney receives specifically, or what the legislation he intends to propose would do or affect.

In the past, we’ve discussed copyright in depth when it comes to Mickey Mouse. As we shared, Disney has lobbied the U.S. Congress extensively when it comes to general copyright protections, and it has done so successfully.


Copyright law provides individuals (or companies) with exclusive rights over creative works — this includes fictional characters that are original and fixed in a tangible medium. As long as the copyright protection lasts, the owner has the exclusive ability to use and distribute their work. Once the copyright expires, the work goes into the public domain. At that point, anyone can use that work however they want to.

Copyrights only last a number of years. In the past, Disney has lobbied Congress to make some changes to the U.S. copyright laws to extend certain protections, which, as a result, have extended the copyright protection on their main mouse (and other works that would fall under the regulations).

Our pal Mickey

The most recent example of this is with the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (which many refer to as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.”). Under that law, corporate copyright protection was extended from 75 years to 95 years. As a result, Mickey Mouse won’t fall under the public domain until 2024.

It’s unclear if Hawley’s Tweet is at all in reference to potential talks of a further extension of copyright protections under U.S. law or something else.

Hey There Mickey!

At this point, not much is known or has been shared. We’ll keep an eye out for more details and let you know what we find.

Click here to find out what happens when Disney doesn’t own Mickey Mouse anymore!

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The post NEWS: U.S. Senator Warns of Bill to End Disney’s “Special Copyright Protections” first appeared on the disney food blog.


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