Mickey Mouse Release Day

See also: Copyright

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The idea is to get plenty of high profile websites to display Mickey’s likeness to protest the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

For the moment, see:http://takedown.net/story/2003/1/15/201311/286

The important thing here is to get a large number of high profile sites to participate, perhaps even commercial ones like CNET. For the faint of heart, we might offer a no risk alternative like a derivative work of the 14th century Micky. The following pre-protest logo was contributed by Conrad Barski:


See also: version without nose on Mickey, just the glass.

I think it would be fair use to display an image of Mickey on a banner or something. The Eldred “Mickey behind bars” logo could also be effective. — Luke Francl

See http://www.reason.com/links/links011703.shtml

It’s come to my attention that a distinction be made when posting a mouse image in such a planned protest. Anyone wanting to do this action should be careful to select an actual MM image from a work published in 1923 — in effect a visual citation of that work. Best, perhaps, from the original film.

By contrast, using any of the stand-alone (often stylized) images — say, lifted from a Disney Web site, or even some MM product — risks infringing on a trademark (logo) registration, and would therefore miss the mark of being a “copyright” protest. Trademarks are a separate issue, renewable (if still consistently used) every 10 years. — bo

In the same vein, moved from Copyright Term Reform:–NB. The modern Mickey Mouse is a trademark image, not a copyright image, ergo does not fall under the SBCTEA.

Response – there are relatively few limits on the use of trademarks (I can say “Apple” all day long, when I sell a product called Apple in the field of computers I may get problems). In contrast, I cannot create any derivative work based on Mickey, commercial or otherwise, because of copyright constraints on its image. —Erik
ReRe – sure, but you can’t use the half-bitten Apple logo all day long, nor on other products, without getting in trouble. Likewise, you can’t use the Modern Mickey. He’s just not up for grabs. If this protest every got media coverage, Disney would fluff it off as being lunically off-target.
If Mickey was not copyrighted, we could use the trademarked logo for specific non-commercial purposes. It’s the “likelihood of confusion” and the “use in commerce” that matters (of course, commerce is being increasingly interpreted broadly to apply to open source software and the like, but there is no case law yet, to my knowledge, that justifies this interepretation). Restrictions on copyright are much more narrow. By having both the copyright and the trademark, Disney is in a much stronger position to prosecute infringers. —Erik

Actually, it wouldn’t be mid-April but rather December 31 because copyright under the 1976 Act lasts until December 31 of the year in which it expires (17 USC 305).

And about Disney’s °o° trademark: That could be a separate fight entirely. In many chemistry textbooks, you’ll see an illustration similar to the following:


If Disney owns a copyright or trademark on the shape of the water molecule, we’re all in trouble.

— tepples

On MMR Day, where can webmasters obtain such pictures?

The Ballad Of Dennis Karjala – A song about the Sonny Bono Copyright Act

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