Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Mickey Mouse Club

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica:

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for lobbying hard on copyright issues. The 1998 copyright extension has even been dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” by activists like Lawrence Lessig that have worked to reform copyright laws.

This year, the company is turning to its employees to fund some of that battle. Disney CEO Bob Iger has sent a letter to the company’s employees, asking for them to open their hearts—and their wallets—to the company’s political action committee, DisneyPAC.

In the letter, which was provided to Ars by a Disney employee, Iger tells workers about his company’s recent intellectual property victories, including stronger IP protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Supreme Court victory that destroyed Aereo, and continued vigilance about the “state of copyright law in the digital environment.” It also mentions that Disney is seeking an opening to lower the corporate tax rate.

As Mullin notes, it’s not unheard-of for a company to solicit contributions to political campaigns or lobbyists in order to further the company’s business goals. But Disney is especially notable for lobbying hard for extensions in copyright laws, and they’re ramping up for a big push over the next couple of years.

Cory Doctorow, in a series of tweets:

The reality of Mickey Mouse & copyright term-extension is much more complicated than Steamboat Willie, FWIW … The significant issue isn’t Mickey, it’s everything else made after 1928. … If Disney fails to secure copyright term extension in 2018, then by 2028, it will also lose Snow White. … Five years later, it will lose Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, and Saludos Amigos. … By the time we get to works from 1950, Disney starts to lose 1 major film/year.

Disney wants their intellectual property to be perpetually theirs, at great detriment to the public domain. Lawmakers need to have the courage to say that these term extensions have gone on for long enough. It’s time, Disney, for you to let it go.

Let it go.

Can’t hold it back any more.