Hold firm on copyright to punish Disney’s lameness
Copyright originally extended the life of the author plus fifty years for individual works or seventy-five years after conception for corporate creations. The late recording artist and Congressman Sunny Bono, in his most valuable contribution to American democracy, sponsored a bill (The Sunny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998) that increased the limit to seventy years post-mortem for men and ninety-five years post-invention for companies. The bill is also called the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because it received heavy support from the Walt Disney Company which would have otherwise lost the rights to its trademark rodent some time between 2000 and this year.Though I favor the rights to intellectual property, I disagree with this bill. None of the people who are collecting royalties from Mickey, Donald, or George Gershwin made any contribution to these creations; moreover, they are mostly grandchildren, not children, so these artists did not work with the welfare of the current recipients in mind. These heirs should make their own fortunes.
To me, Disney’s vehement copyright warfare (it’s already looking forward to the next time it will have to fight to extend its rights) is another sign that the creative well has run dry at the Mouse House. EuroDisney is synonymous with “EuroTrash.” The animation department peaked in 1995 and now busies itself with insignificant straight-to-video sequels like “Cinderella II.” For every live-action success like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” there are two box-office failures like “The Alamo” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” Before this year, the CEO and chairman positions at Disney were always held by one man, but Michael Eisner has lost the latter; he is a lame duck, as was Ken Stopkotte when he “resigned” as head of the Carmel Swim Club but kept the high school job for a few tenuous weeks. The company’s top studio by far is Pixar, and a few months ago, it announced that it is leaving, as well. Quixotically, when Disney decides not to distribute a movie for fear of critical and financial backlash, it becomes a huge hit (“Fahrenheit 9/11.”)
Disney is not dead, but clearly, it is ill. Thus, it is clinging by its fingernails to the inventions of its namesake who has been dead for almost forty years. It has shown neither ingenuity nor growth; its strength and popularity slowly dwindles. I am reminded of Voldemort who could only keep alive by drinking the blood of unicorns. In 2020, the time will come to cut its lifeline. So it should be with all heirs who spend lavishly but contribute nothing to the fortunes of the family. Here’s hoping the Congress of our adulthood will show some fortitude in this case.Explore posts in the same categories: Movies and TV, Politics