Art By Derivation

See also: Art | Copyright


  • Steamboat Willie was inspired by Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill. The script to the Disney movie notes: “Orchestra starts playing opening verses of �Steamboat Bill.�”
  • Igor Stravinsky did not consent for The Rite of Spring to be used in Disney’s second feature, Fantasia. He was forced to accept $5,000 for the film rights because if he did not, Disney would take it anyway due to problems in copyright enforcement. His reaction was to condemn the soundtrack performance (which was edited by Leopold Stokowski) as “execrable” and the film as “an unresisting imbecility”.

How copyright stifles creativity:

  • Underground artist Dan O’Neill ( has created several Disney parodies and was hauled to court ( over it.
  • The Wind Done Gone, parody of Gone with the Wind (court action, was ruled to be not in violation)
  • Peter Pan: On December 20, 2002, writer Emily Somma filed a preemptive lawsuit against the hospital to protect her derivative work, “After the Rain: A New Adventure for Peter Pan”. The hospital previously warned her that her book would be in violation of its copyrights. Somma argues that the characters are now in the public domain.

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