Hawley Takes War Against Disney To New Front, Threatens Mickey Mouse’s Copyright

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Disney’s newfound “woke” status may cause even more problems for the company after their battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. That, if Senator Hawley has something to do with it.

This time instead of a state battle, Congress could get involved in protecting one of Disney’s most precious assets. Or in the case of Steamboat Willie,” the early version of Mickey Mouse, it’s to strip its copyright protection.

That is what Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is threatening to do by proposing legislation Tuesday that would limit Disney’s copyright protection for the iconic cartoon rodent to 56 years.

The Copyright Clause Restoration Act would retroactively apply to Disney’s copyright to the original design of Mickey Mouse in the 1928 release of the short animated film “Steamboat Willie.” and release the character into the public domain.

“The age of Republican handouts to Big Business is over,” Hawley said in a statement. “Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, woke corporations like Disney have earned billions while increasingly pandering to woke activists.”

Steamboat Willie had been set to enter the public domain numerous times before in  1995, 1986, and 2003 but Congress extended the copyright after heavy Disney lobbying. 

Disney was so heavily involved in the passage of the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act that pushed the copyright of Steamboat Willie until 2024, that opponents nicknamed it the “The Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” 

That influence Disney had in the past seems not to exist anymore according to Hawley.

“It’s time to take away Disney’s special privileges and open up a new era of creativity and innovation,” said Hawley.

While Hawley’s bill would put the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse into the public domain, other versions of Mickey Mouse would still be under copyright protection.

Even if Hawley’s bill does not pass, top GOP officials have stated they will not support another extension of copyright protection for Disney, reports the New York Post. Do you agree with this?

Ed Gonzalez

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